by Mark Alker
June 7, 2013
Mark's perception of 29ers are altered in one day
At the Trek 29r Press Camp in Sedona we were given a day to ride the new Remedy 9 29r (claimed weight 29.6lbs). It was just a day (But what a day and what a place!) and the trail was unbelievably dry for a Brit like me so obviously this first impression is just that – a first impression in very specific conditions. The trail itself was 12 miles of steep, very rocky and in places extremely technical and mostly singletrack terrain. It was also hot – like over a 100F hot!
So in these conditions, how did it ride?
In short, like a 29r – if that’s not too much of an oxymoron – It rolls over lumps with very little reduction in momentum, which is what 29rs are good at. It’s a Remedy – so it’s meant to be pedalled up in order to be thrown hard down the other side. Hard acceleration is not what this bike is for unless you are aided by gravity. What I’m saying here is that yes, it takes more effort to bring a 29r up to speed but then that’s not what this bike should be judged by. Its real capability lies with how you can plough it through almost any technical terrain with barely a thought towards carefully planned line choice. It’s a skills compensator for the newly gravitationally assisted rider. But if you do know what you are doing on the descents and you do pick a good line, this bike will have you through it and out the other side at such a lick of speed that will you will be grinning and making funny American whooping noises for quite some time both during and after. Well, that’s what it did to me.
I was particularly happy with the way it handled slow speed drop offs of the kind that are so steep that your biggest worry is stalling as soon as the front wheel hits the bottom and being pitched over the bars. In Sedona there were many of these and the rock is sharp and unforgiving. Time and again these drops looked so much worse than they turned out to be – A real big wheel benefit.
At first I was very much aware of the larger sticky-out front wheel. It looked odd. But after a day of riding I really wasn’t aware that the big front wheel, permanently sitting in my field of vision was a cartwheel at all.
Remedy in action
Apparently I had adapted!
Of course, every other rider was also riding an exact same bike, with the exact same sized wheels so under those conditions it’s not surprising that it quickly looked and felt ‘normal’. If I was riding with my usual bunch of riding mates who are taller than me and still ride 26 inch bikes then I’m sure the period of adjustment would be considerably longer.
..But there lies the conclusion for me. Adjustment (and possibly acceptance) is just a matter of riding with more 29rs. As they slowly and inexorably begin to take over, so the pain of adjustment will start to slowly fade. 29rs will soon just be as normal as 26rs and old farts like me will not care one way or the other about wheel size. The Remedy with it’s very compact design and indistinguishable wheelbase is just going to help that moment come sooner rather than later.
Yes, my name is Mark and I think 29rs are starting to grow on me.