When I see 29ers come into the shop I generally smile and nod. Looks like a nice bike, but we don't take kindly to tall strangers around these parts. We'll fix your bike, but when its done just roll those wagon wheels on down the trail pardner.
Imagine having DT, CT, a 27 foot trailer full of 09 demo bikes, and a whole possee of Homers circle the wagons at your place for five days of fun on the west's best trails. Well that's what we had ourselves last fall after Intebike. After a few days of trail rides, putting the new 5 Spots to the test and a few nights of BBQ infused with Tequila and beer I found myself staring into the camp fire, confessing to DT that I'd never taken a 29er beyond the confines of the shop parking lot. Hell, no need to if you ask me.
Having pretty much forgotten my campfire confession of the night before I found myself at the trailhead expecting another pretty much perfect day of pedaling the 09 5Spot. While other riders were getting their mounts ready with Dave's help I didn't notice a Sultan being cut out of the herd for me. As everyone began to mozy down the trail I turned to mount my ride and discovered a pair of WAGON WHEELS!
With everyone getting further down the trail and no other choice I jumped in the saddle and began to chase down the rest of the herd. Once I got on top of the gear and began to pedal I noticed we were eating up ground faster than normal and quickly caught up to the group. Well, of course it rolls fast on the flats, that's what big wheels do I thought. "Ill probably be buzzard bait once we hit the rough stuff." We stopped at the old Moab Stage stop, (poetic irony), to regroup and began the ride in earnest. As we climbed the first hills of the day the bike stayed hooked up and easily ascended. It handled uphill bumps better than most bikes I have ridden and maintained momentum dare I say better than any 26" bike Ive ridden.
We turned downhill and I expected the bike to show it's weakness here. With only 4.5 inches of travel it just shouldn't have inspired me to rail every corner and search out every jump and drop I could find like it did. Turner's tweaks to the geometry to compensate for the wagon wheels were successful. One rider called it an XC bike on steroids. I found it to inspire all kinds of confidence.
Finally we came to the deep sand section of trail. The bike tracked straighter and stayed on top of the sand, taking advantage of the greater surface area of the contact patch. I have to say that if I were an endurance rider or racer there would be NO question about going whole hog for a Sultan. It is without a doubt faster and easier riding than a standard pony.
I began the trail that day looking to find everything I could that was wrong with the Wagon Wheel bike. While I have been of a notion that those big wheels were just fine... for other riders, I finished the day wondering how soon I could add a Sultan to my herd.
Thanks to Dave, Christine and the Homies, for the time you spent with us in Moab. Come back soon, ya hear!
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Thread: Turner vs the Wagon Wheel