Awesome afternoon on Pitch (warning 29er and Giant content!)

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  • Awesome afternoon on Pitch (warning 29er and Giant content!)
  • Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Decided to nip up to Pitch Hill for a quick blast before the weekend’s bad weather sets in – such an awesome afternoon that just have to share it – and GIVE A BIG PLUG TO THE NICE GUYS AT GIANT!

    Early bit – parked at the top car park and popped up towards the summit. Thought it was time to test myself a bit, so took the (middle) route down to the pub. Ok so this is right on my limit (and my old bikes limit). Back up to the CP and up to the summit. Watched a couple of guys take the straight route down to the pub (LH fork at the top) so decided to give at a go. Wow, great little run with the switchbacks etc. Ok fell off part of the way down but that was just a little blimp. Easier than the first, middle route IMO. Then a quick blast down all the Ts (I think – never sure of the names). Someone has done an amazing job on these routes since I was last there especially the final s’backs on the middle bit! Thanks for that.

    Then the best bit. Down from the graveyard to the Walking Bottom CP and there is a bike demo session going on for the staff of Cycle Surgery. Had a quick chat with the guys at Giant and they very kindly let me have a demo on an Anthem X1 29er. Incredibly nice and trusting of them, as I had no ID/deposit etc. Left them with my basic, old Trek HT (hmm, good trade especially with the car at the top car park :wink:)

    OK so I am a newish rider and this is my first go on a FS and a 29er, but what an awesome ride. Rode straight back up to top of Pitch and decided to have a crack at the direct Windmill run again. Was this wise given that I have never ridden a FS before. Was the technique different etc?

    Incredible, I felt a completely different rider. Now I know what “skills compensator” means. It felt so easy to ride the steep stuff and to flip the bike around the corners. The large wheels actually felt more manouverable?? This is an XC bike and took my down a run I had only ever tried once before. I was grinning so much by the time I hit the road. I have found the bike I was looking for.

    Back up to the top and then another blast down the T trails. Incredible to compare with my old HT. So much faster, more responsive, more comfortable ….awesome. Hit the descent from the graveyard much faster and much easier to arrive back at the Giant Van. It took me 30m to stop smiling. Incredible bike – does everything. Easy to climb, transformed my riding and confidence on the steep stuff and so much faster down the T trails.

    Sadly gave it back for old faithful and back up to the top of Pitch and another crack at the direct route. Nowhere near as nice – the contrast was horrible (as was my riding 3x down!!).

    Can’t believe that an XC bike can be so versatile. I think I have found my do-it-all machine. And how trusting and kind were the Giant reps (and they declined my offer of some cheese straws!!)?

    Next bike decision sorted. Now to stop the grinning – my face is starting to hurt.

    THANK YOU GIANT TEAM

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Happy days and smart from Giant, look at goodwill and positive review generated.

    I suspect a 26 FS would have felt even better, also (and I dont mean to be an @rse) but those trails are more XC than DH so the Anthem is fine my mate rides all that on 100mm SC Superlight, quick and manoeuvrable.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Yep lots of goodwill. I know the direct route isn’t DH but on the steepish side for XC don’t you think (he says hopefully!! :wink:) Appreciate that T trails are certainly XC.

    The thing that put me off XC bikes before was whether they were ok on steeper stuff. But this felt so easy. Funnily enough the climb up to the top from WB car park didn’t feel any easier. It was going down that made the difference. (Giant guys did say that sag looked a little wrong as I left the CP)

    Wheels didn’t look big on the 29er but when I got back on my old bike the 26s looked diddy!!

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Jambalaya -out of interest why do you say that the 26 would feel better. Anything to do with size (I am 6’1″)?

    Just seem a YT clip of three guys (on on tallboy 29er) riding all the tougher Pitch, W’fold descents.

    I was also intrigued to see a SC TCR (?) being ridden on Pitch today. The guys at P&S seem to like them a lot and recommended one for me to demo. A lot more bike by the look of it.

    Still buzzing from the ride

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Truth is I don’t know which would feel better for you. Smaller wheels more manourverable, accelerate faster. I suppose to make an accurate comparison you need to ride both 26 and 29 Anthems. It does seem a common view that 29ers suit larger riders but some of that seems to be that the bigger bike looks better. I read that 29ers have really taken off in the US but I’ve still only ever seen one in SH (Santa Cruz FS) and it’s hard to separate rider vs bike but it seemed to struggle on mix of tight twisty rooty trail with steep rollable drops.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Thanks, that’s interesting. I rode the same trails on 26 trek ht and the anthem 29 and actually found the anthem far easy to flick around on the steeper trails and the faster T trails. Not what I was expecting. As you say probably need to try the 26 as well to see if extra price is worth it.

    Was going to demo fuel ex 8 next week, so that might give me some idea.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Can you post a link to the YouTube, thanks.

    All the trails you mention are I think rollable with no compulsory jumps or big drops. I’m a very average rider but someone here posted something I can relate to, they said their HT front end went wherever they pointed it and the back end went where it wanted to. That’s my experience of how a HT rear end skips about on steeper rooty trails, now that’s actually a lot of fun and helps to sharpen up your skills but a FS stays more planted at the rear and so is more composed. So I think the big difference you felt was HT vs FS plus I suspect better brakes and forks.

    If you are out and about midweek and want to ride a few trails on my Reign as a comparison drop me an email.

    Ultimately if it makes you grin and you want one then that’s all that matters really.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    I read that 29ers have really taken off in the US but I’ve still only ever seen one in SH (Santa Cruz FS) and it’s hard to separate rider vs bike but it seemed to struggle on mix of tight twisty rooty trail with steep rollable drops.

    Do you live in a cave?! They’re massive here now. If you’ve only seen one in the SH you’re not looking very hard! That is the exact stuff they excel at, so sounds like a crap rider! Most of my friends have changed for this season, and all think they are better.

    MrSmith
    Member

    i started laughing when you said “summit”

    Premier Icon nuke
    Subscriber

    If you’ve only seen one in the SH you’re not looking very hard!

    TBH can’t say I’ve noticed many in the SHs. Saw an SC Tallboy in orange the other week but can’t remember seeing any others. You hear a lot more about 29ers on here and in the media but it did make me wonder whether the actual uptake amongst your average run-of-the-mill riders is that high 😕

    creamegg
    Member

    I’d say less that 1 in 10 bikes i see out and about are 29ers. Possibly even 1 in 20.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Aye, but 1:10 is a lot more than 1 bike!

    Imagine my group aren’t wholly representative as everyone races and tends to change bikes more often than ‘average’, or perhaps folk aren’t looking that hard, but there are definitely more now than ever before, and I suspect you’ll see a continuation of that trend for a while! Sure we’ll find an equilibrium at some point.

    pop larkin
    Member

    I saw 5 this morning!

    brooess
    Member

    I’m intrigued to know where all these trails are…especially with switchbacks…
    I know the T trails and I’ve seen the new one which runs down the RHS of the road and comes out into Walking Bottom (although not ridden it)
    Can anyone shed any light?

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Jambalaya – thanks for the offer. I will test a Trek fuel ex next week then may be take you up on your offer. What you say about HT v FS makes a lot of sense and I am glad I have learnt skills (sic) the hard way. But it felt like jumping 18 months of effort and experience just with the bike yesterday. Interesting the guys from Giant dissuaded me from a Giant for SH – anthem best, then trance next. I am trying to find YT clip but its not in my history. I will keep looking – three bikes and one orange tall boy – from memory they did both routes down to windmill, DHDog, evian (I think) etc.

    Middle descent does have two jumps (although accept that you can bottle them – as I did, but that was on my old trek!!)

    Ok Summit for Pitch Hill may be over-egging it but you know what I mean!!!

    Broess, I am sure that I wont get blasted by the keep-it-quiet brigade as these are hardly secret. What i refer to as switchback goes pretty much from the trig point (a few feet to RHS) and takes the LH fork after about 10m. Pops out onto the road just below the pub ( be careful, its a bit blind!)

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @teamhurtmore, I’m about midweek for a couple of months and enjoying the quiet trails. FWIW when I got my Reign it was between that and a Trance, I went for Reign as its good for Alps but it was a very even between the bikes, the superior downhill performance of the Reign was apparent though. If you do jumping or want to learn, the Trance is maybe marginal depending on forks and Anthem isnt right. In hindsight for 80% of what I do Trance would have been the right choice.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Hmm, followed this up with bizarre day out with a demo on Trek Fuel EX8 from the nice guys at East Street Cycles. I was really looking forward to riding this especially after the very +ve reviews. I guess I am very odd, but it felt the exact opposite of everything I expected in comparison with the Anthem.

    I found it much harder on the steeper stuff (????), harder to throw around despite the 26 inch tires (???) and overall a bike that simply didn’t work for me. The Anthem made me feel 2 years more advanced, but sadly the Trek did the opposite. Weird sensation of not being in control of the front end and following the bike round the corner rather than driving/leading it. I felt late into every corner and increasingly nervous. Went back to easier trails like Yog Pots/Coco to get confidence back and enjoyed a last blast down BKB, but my preferred other steeper, rootier stuff was hard work all day.

    Very bizarre that it felt the complete opposite of how it should and how I was expecting. Maybe I am a weird shape? Time to try a Superfly to see if I suit 29XC generally better.

    Premier Icon legalalien
    Subscriber

    There is certainly something special about the Giant Anthem. A regular riding buddy got one late last year (Giant Anthem X2 29er) and claimed he took 6 minutes or so off one of our regular trails. This is all forest singletrack, lots of short ascents, roots and twisty stuff. I thought it was a fairly bold claim at the time.

    Last night I went out with him for the first time in ages (I was off injured for over a year) and he was absolutely flying. Now, he’s a bit of an XC jeyboy roadie whippet and I am out of shape right now, but I can usually compensate by being far quicker on the nadgery bits and downhills. Not so last night. I think the Giant has given him some extra confidence, as he was tackling switchbacks etc. far quicker than he used to (old bike was a GT something or other, but well sorted with SIDs etc.) I know for a fact that he hasn’t been Jedi’d, so it is highly likely to be the bike 🙂

    I’ll be having a go next ride to see what all the fuss is about but I’m inclined to believe that it’s a cracker. Not my cup of tea though – I prefer mine big and bouncy.

    Premier Icon legalalien
    Subscriber

    Double post even though I was told “you actually have to submit some content” by an uppity forum server 😕

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Legalalien – thanks for that. That’s my experience exactly – but odd as it goes against everything you read (lesson there!). Why is a 29 wheel so much easier to flick around especially on tight rooty stuff.

    The Fuel felt quite bouncy until I used the propedal. Then it climbed well.

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