Had my first ride on my new EX 9 today. My initial impressions are very positive. The trail I was on was southern Ontario tight twisty single track with lots of ups and downs. Not a lot of technical sections but there are some rooty areas and a number of log piles to get over. For comparison my previous bike is a Fisher 03 Sugar 2+. I''m about 6'3" and went for the XL. The fit is great. I like a stretched out feel and the EX 9 gives you that. Similar to the Sugar.
Now to describe the ride, I would say that it feels more tighter and responsive than the Sugar. I was able to get some pretty good speed through some real twisty sections and stay on the trail with ease. Its a great climber - might have been imagineing it, but seemed to take less effort to get to the top of a number of climbs I have done a zillion times before. I didn't have problems keeping the front end down while climbing as others have indicated. The pro-pedal rear shock seems to do its job - certainly less bob than the Sugar. I played around with the front fork settings. I liked 110 mm best for general X-Country riding although even at 130mm the front end seemed fine while climbing. Componetry on the bike is great. The shifting is tight. The Juicey 7's lock up the wheels nicely. I swaped the tires for Conti 2.3 Vertical Pros, put on a pair of Time ATAC pedals, otherswise everything else is stock. Bike feels like a sturdy cross-country bike - would not say it is overly plush - just right for trail riding. I will be taking it to the Alps with me this summer so that should be the real test.
I had always planned on getting the Fisher HiFi Pro but when the incredible folding HiFi incident occured I started questioning the HiFi (the light frame had always given me some pause given that I'm about 220 lbs). Looked around at other options. Looked seriously at some boutique bikes and couldn't justify the extra $. Finally decided to go with the EX 9 (was told that I got the last XL). No regrets at all with this purchase. Great looking bike and rides very nice.
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Thread: First Ride on my Trek EX 9