I went to the Titus demo today that was hosted by Speedgoat. It was quite a day. I "registered" for the demo about a month ago, reserving a Supermoto for me and a Motolite for the Mrs. About two weeks ago, as some of you may remember, I purchased a used 2002 Turner RFX, which is sitting on my workbench waiting for me to buy parts to build it up. Anyway, after I bought the Turner, I debated a little whether we should still attend the Titus demo. I decided that it was worth taking the trip (2 hours each way) just to try out some new bikes on new terrain and at least I would get some ideas for building up my RFX.
Well, we woke up this morning and it was pouring. With rain and thunderstorms predicted all day. So we wavered back and forth all morning about whether we should go or not (by "wavered" I mean "fought about it"). The Mrs. was a little apprehensive about the technicality of the terrain (rightfully so, it's very rocky around here), particularly since everything was going to be wet. In the end we decided to go. So we make the 2 hour trek to the demo sight (Laurel Mountain in PA). When we get there it's still pouring, but we're already there we might as well get soaked. The Titus guy (Matt, I think) sets me up on a large Supermoto and the Mrs. on an extra-small Motolite (she's 5'6", but that was the only size they had in).
Jeremy from Speedgoat offers to guide us around the trails. I let him know that we're kind of noobs and that we didn't want to ride any super-techy trails, but at the same time I want to get a little feel of what the Supermoto is capable of. We start off (it's still pouring but at least Speedgoat brought rain jackets for people to wear...yeah, we forgot our own rain jackets ) and within a couple of hundred yards I've got a good impression of how the Supermoto feels.
- Overall fit/feel: The bike is pretty choppered out. Which it turns out I loved. The tall fork (Fox 36 Talas - tall relative to the RS Reba that I'm used to), combined with the 67* HA made the bike feel really slack. The bars were a little higher than my seat position, and I found the upright posture very comfortable.
- Handling/Steering: I was worried about the front end wandering on climbs or the bike feeling unwieldy in techy sections, but actually just the opposite was true. The front wandered less than my current bike (Kona Hoss) and it just plowed through rock gardens. Or, if I tried to pick my way through, it steered right where I asked it to. Outstanding.
- Suspension: The Fox air front (36 Talas R) and rear (DHX air 5.0) was plush, plush, plush. Keep in mind that I currently ride a HT, so that'll affect my assessment of what "plush" means. To my rear, the bike felt cushy, absorbed all big and small bumps, and never "wallowed" or felt harsh. Now, to be honest, I didn't push the pace too much or take any drops, this was just general technical trail riding. The air pressures were tweaked to suit my weight (sorry, I didn't ask what they were) but I did not touch any of the compression or rebound settings.
- Traction was outstanding. We did a ~7.5 mile loop with wet rock garden after wet rock garden, followed by mud puddles, wet roots and more wet rock gardens. Guess how may times the bike lost traction. Once. On a log pile where I didn't unweight the rear enough. Tires were Kenda Kinetics, 2.6 front and a smaller rear. I attribute at least some of this traction to the suspension working as it should: staying glued to the ground while pedaling, coasting and braking.
- Freeride-y type stuff - well, I didn't get to do too much of this. My wife was reluctant to take any of the "expert" trails (Real techy stuff is not her cup of tea) so I didn't get to do any real jumping or dropping. You like how I blamed that part on her. In general, the front end is real easy to pick up while riding, which helped in the sections with larger rocks. I managed to do one little pedal-kick/wheelie-drop off a 1ft. high rock (, I know) and the bike was super responsive. I felt more in control of this bike, which I had only been on for an hour, than I do on my own bike.
- Weight: Light as a feather. Seriously. I had a fairly lightweight build (list of what I can remember is below), the Titus guy said it was around 33lbs. It may have actually been a little more, but that's what my HT weighs anyway. I would have no problems pedaling this bike around on any ride that I would do. At no time did the weight feel like it was an issue, and on more than one occasion I thought to myself, "man, this bike feels so light." Just for reference, I weigh around 265lbs, so a 35lb bike is less of an issue for me than it may be for a 170lb guy. But for a Clydesdale, this could be an excellent all-around trail bike.
The build (as best I can remember):
Supermoto, large w/DHX air
Fox 36 Talas R
Wimpy looking stem (I've got a Race Face DH stem on my Hoss, so my perspective is skewed )
Titec (I think) telescoping seatpost
Some seat, a hard one
Cane Creek Reducing headset
Magura Louise FR brakes - awesome, excellent modulation
XT cranks, triple (I would've like a bash)
Sram X-7 RD
DT wheelset - 5.1's, Onyx hubs
I think that's it.
My wife had only a few things to say about the Motolite. She liked it . Seriously, I think she enjoyed having some squish (RP3 rear and Talas R front) below her, and it was especially noticable in the rocky sections where she was clearing things easier than normal. Plus, the ride is much more comfortable. She liked the brakes (Magura Martas), particularly how "sensitive" they felt. She said to me, "you can buy me a full-suspension bike any time you like." I take that as a good sign.
Anyway, I guess you probably got the impression by now that I like the Supermoto .I'm going to be building up my RFX, and it's going to have a lot to live up to. It better feel and perform as well as the Supermoto. I expect it to, but if not, I know where to look for the ride that I like.
Thanks to Titus, Speedgoat and our "guide" Jeremy in particular for putting up with us noobs and keeping the ride tame enought for the Mrs. He was on a Supermoto also, and I know he was chopping at the bit for some downhills and drops. I appreciated him toning it down to our level. If the Titus trailer is coming to your town be sure to check it out, it'll be worth it.
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