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Both Saturday and Sunday, I had a chance to ride the Sette Reken 69er conversion bike. Here’s a few thoughts.
Riding the Sette Reken as a 69er was definitely a great experience. This frame has proven it self to be versatile and reliable. The frame has been my single speed rig for about 6 months and now it has been converted over to a 69er. As I’ve mentioned before, the fork was graciously lent to me by Moe who had previously had it on his KHS Solo One. I then took a 700c wheel and wrapped it with a Maxxis Ignitor 29er tire.
On paper this 69er convert would make people think that it would ride like a chopper. Well sorry to disappoint the naysayers, but the bike handled just fine. It didn’t feel like it was going to tip over every time I turned the handle bars. Speaking of naysayers, I’m one of them when it comes to 29ers. Jeremy and I go back and forth about why I think they are not that special and he can go on about why they are the best thing in the world. Well with my skeptical attitude, I figured my experience on the 69er would be an objective one.
The first thing that most 29er people would say is that the bigger wheels have an ability to “roll over” things better. Ok fine…I’ll give you that. I did notice that trail contours such as brake bumps was handled better with the 29er wheel. The reason why I say this, is simple. When I rolled over a bump or divot on the trail, the 29er front wheel felt better than it did when my rear 26″ wheel rolled over it. I know this isn’t a scientific way of measuring 29er benefits. But I did feel it. Another benefit to this 69er set up was pumping.
I’ve often talked about the importance of pumping the backside of rollers. This was easier with the rigid set up because as soon as I got over the crest of the roller and pumped, the bike would follow suit with the greatest of eas. I would imagine that a rigid 69er would be a great bike on a pump track.
Ok, so here’s a break down on the pros and cons of my 69er conversion:
-No money was spent in this conversion.
-Great to experience a 69er.
-Great pumping power.
-No need to worry about lockout.
-Rolling over things…eh…I’m not that impressed but sure, we’ll give it over as Pro.
-Rigid riding makes you a stronger rider.
-Rigid riding makes you a better bike handler.
-Weight loss of 1lb on the bike.
-Rigid hurts like a mofo.
I know that my Con list is super small, but really, the only thing I didn’t like about the 69er thing was the fact I was riding a rigid. I think if I had it set up as a front suspension, then I’m sure I’d enjoy it more. But for me, the jarring effects of a rigid sucked.
So overall, would I recommend doing a 69er conversion? Sure why not. I’ve always wanted to try it and now that I have, I’m glad I did. The bike isn’t entirely a different experience, but its certainly going to add something unique to your rides. In all honesty, I only did this conversion just because it wasn’t going to cost me anything. As I’ve mentioned all the parts I used were available at my disposal. If you can find all the parts you need for very little money, then go for it. But I don’t think its worth spending some big money for a 29er fork, wheels and tires.