After riding my ARC faithfully since 2001 (I'm on my fourth frame as the previous three all cracked in different spots within the 5 year warranty period), I pulled the trigger and purchased a bike with a tad more rear wheel travel than my ARC provided.
I really wanted the new 27.5" 575 but due to recent divorce my budget was a bigger issue. So, I was pleased when I saw the SB-66 comp pop up on Chain Reaction for a steeply discounted price of $1,700.
My riding partner at work has an SB-95 that he just loves so I knew the bike would not disappoint. I just had to convince myself that the price was going to be worth what I may be giving up with the 575. I did a quick review at the specifications and decided that for the asking price I simply couldn't pass on the deal. So I pulled the trigger.
I arrived home from work Thursday last week and found this waiting for me.
after an hour and a half or so of unpacking and assembling, I ended up with this.
I dorked around the neighborhood for a few minutes to try to get everyting positioned correctly and I worked on setting the sag. This was tough since my fork on my ARC is going on 7 years old and at least 5 since it was Pushed so it may not have been performing optimally for a little while! But, I got the sag where I thought it should be and planned to hit my local lunchtime trail the next day.
I was all ready to go and my buddy was meeting me at my office for the ride so at noon brand new rubber hit the pavement and we were off. the climb up was different with a tad more suspension travel than i was used to. I kind of need to relearn how to ride to take advantage of not only a bit more front travel, but rear travel in general! I had the shocks set to trail but was kind of getting bounced around a bit so I moved them to climb. fortunately, this particular climb is uphill for 2 miles so you don't need to worry about any short downhill sections. I made it to the top and was definitely more tired than I would have been on my ARC but I kind of expect this. Plus, I hadn't ridden in a couple of weeks so that took a toll as well.
at any rate, we rested for a bit, took a glamour shot
and pointed our bikes downhill for the descent back to the trailhead.
things were going well for most of the descent. I'm certainly not used to the slacker steering tube angle that this bike has and the riding position was also a bit new compared to my very XC ARC but I settled in and just tried to go with it. I had to tell myself at a few spots to actually hit some rocks that I'd normally try to avoid because I knew with the suspension I would hardly feel them. it took a bit of adjustment to allow myself to take what my mind was screaming at me would be a bumpier line! But the bike certainly soaked it up nicely.
we were 90% of the way down the hill and there's a sweeping right hand bermed corner that I entered with a good head of steam. I've done it a hundred times before on my ARC and I'm more than fast on my ARC on this particular trail keeping my full suspension partners close or behind me. But, this day, I entered the corner and soon enough felt the front end start to wash out. Uh Oh. this isn't going to end well................
sure enough, down i went. I can't lie. this one hurt. I haven't had one that really hurt in a while. Well, probably in five years when I crashed on the same hill but in a different spot slicing my knee open to the bone eventually requiring 31 stitches to close, I knew nothing was really damaged but my knew was killing me! fortunately, my friend was there to capture the resting period as I tried to let the pain in my knee let me walk!
I think I lied there for a good 5 minutes before he helped me up and I walked it off. it stung but I knew the worst would happen later that night when I tried to sleep!
we finished the ride and I headed into the gym at work to clean up.
I didn't even really realize my back was affected until somebody at the gym mentioned it to me. Guess I slid on my right shoulder a bit too!
I was a bit sore over the weekend but hit the trail again today (Wednesday). we did the loop in reverse. I climbed slow but felt better on the descent and was only a minute off my PB so i figure as I relearn how to descent and corner better with a bike better suited for such a task I'll get better.
I'm planning on switching the front rotor to a 203mm one and after only two rides I can certainly see the convenience of a dropper seatpost. I just need to figure out if the cost and weight penalty are worth it. I swapped out the Maxxis Ardent tires for Kenda Nevgal's over the weekend. I don't know if the tire was a contributing factor in my washout but I've been riding Nevgals on my ARC (I ride the big fatties 2.35 even though the clearance is tight on the rear.....) for years and love them so I just felt like I'd switch them on the new bike now. I'm sure the crash was a combination of many things (new bike, new geometry, different tire, speed, rider error) and I don't blame the bike really at all. it's just one of those things that happens but it happened on my innagural ride this time. oh well. so far, I'm pleased with my decision though I need to get used to the differences but that'll come soon enough!
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Thread: New SB-66