Redeeming my hour

After an exhausting day on Saturday, I got to bed early on Saturday night with absolutely no thoughts of riding on Sunday morning. Before drifting off to sleep at 10:30 (9:30, if you account for turning the clock back for Daylight Savings time) I woke up abruptly at 6:30am. After lying around in bed for a few minutes, I realized that due to daylight savings time, it was actually just 5:30!

Since I was not about to fall back asleep, that got me thinking: how much time do I have to mountain bike and where should I ride to maximize my time? To be very frank, I briefly considered running a couple of miles but I promptly nixed that idea. To me, running = YUCK.

After a few minutes of thought, I came out with:
– 1.5 hours of time, which would allow me to return home with enough time to get both myself and my 3 boys ready for church
– Chino Hills State Park: I would take the streets from my house to the Rim Crest entrance, back down South Ridge and out Telegraph returning back to my house via the streets. Time wise: about 1:15. Mileage: about 11. Added benefit: some good climbing front loaded from mile 3.5 – 6.5.

Overall, a great ride on the Niner Air9 hardtail. I did a route I haven’t done in a while and I was immensely pleased to be able to ride with so few cars on the road. The only bad part: I broke my multi-tool about 10 minutes into the ride. Thankfully, I did not need it for the rest of the ride.

For those of you not racing (looking forward to those race reports, team!) were you able to get in some riding with the extra hour gained?

Review: Prologo Vertigo Nack

Product Tested:
Prologo Vertigo Nack

Prologo Vertigo Nack on the trail. Mounted onto a Thomson seatpost and Lezyne Large Caddy Bag

I’ve seen it as low as $162 and as high as $400

Vertigo Nack can surely be considered the synthesis of what is best in today’s market for sports minded MTB saddles. It is the result of precise technical studies that range from shapes, materials, and technologies to obtain a product considered the perfect union of lightness, comfort, and resistance. With its 163 grams Vertigo Nack combines comfort and lightness, technology and design.
Size: 276×136
Base: HWD Carbon Fibre and Kevlar
Cover: Lorica
Padding: Super Light Foam

Beautiful carbon rails

About Me:
6’1” 210lbs, 30 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys XC riding.

Testing Grounds:
Marshall Canyon, Laguna Coast/El Moro, Turnbull, Fullerton Loop… many other Southern California trails on my AIR 9 hardtail

First Impressions:
Wow, it’s a light. I like the lightweight, about 164.4 grams on my office’s postal scale. The padding seemed sufficient as I was coming over from a WTB Rocket V and the shape seemed like something I could ride/endure.

Rear 3/4 view of the Vertigo Nack. The gold piece never bothered me at all

The Prologo Vertigo Nack is designed as a pro level XC oriented saddle. Its weight falls comfortably into the weight weenie’s realm. For comparisons sake, the WTB Rocket V’s lightest version weighs in at 215 grams. WTB’s lightest saddle, the Devo, comes in at 200 grams. FIzik’s lightest mtb saddles come are around 199 grams. The Prologo Vertigo Nack: 163 grams.

Left to right: Prologo Vertigo Nack, WTB Rocket V

Looks are subjective, but I have found the Vertigo Nack to look good. Nothing flashy like the crazy graphics of the WTB Silverado, although some of my friends have remarked the gold on the back of the saddle does catch their attention on occasion. Attached to a Thomson seatpost, the Prologo Vertigo Nack looked like a solid normal saddle.

Ready to hit the trail

The comfort/feel level is pretty good. It’s not quite as comfortable as the Rocket V’s which my derriere has come to prefer, but I have been comfortable on it for longer rides. When the rides stretch to my max, I do find that I do need a dab of chamois butter for comfort. That’s pretty standard for most all saddles I ride on though.

Months of testing, hundreds of miles and it still looks to be in phenomenal condition.

After a few months of testing and lots of riding, the saddle looks none-the-worse for wear. It doesn’t look brand new as I did fall a few times, but the stitching is still intact and the cover is smooth with no tears so you know that it can withstand some falls. There is no fraying and the rails are still holding strong under my 210lbs.

Price. I’ve found the price to vary quite a bit. But, for the most part, I’ve seen it around the upper $200 range into the $300’s. That is mighty pricey for a saddle, in my opinion. But if your goal is to save a few grams while still having a comfortable saddle, the Vertigo Nack fits the bill.

Durable, comfortable and light, the Prologo Vertigo Nack is a great weight weenie “if your butt can handle it” option from the traditional lightweight saddle.

Review Disclaimer

Yes, 1 degree makes a difference

So my beloved Jet9 was recalled. Very sad as I liked that bike a lot. It fit my style of riding to a “T”. The first issue I had to deal with was what was I going to do? I had three options which were:
1. Buy a significantly discounted niner frame and wait 6 months to get a new 2010 Jet9
2. Straight swap to a RIP9. Even trade, no money being exchanged
3. Get $150 and wait 6 months to get a new 2010 Jet9

Since riding rigid, I’ve found that I don’t need a lot of suspension for most of my riding, hence the JET fit my riding style perfectly. I’m sure I could have adapted to the RIP and be happy with that bike, but in this case less is more. So, option 2 was out.

Now it was down to options 1 and 3. I knew which option my wife wanted me to go with and it definitely was not option 1 but, my wonderful wife was supportive when I did go with #1 in the form of an AIR9.

My JET9 replacement, Niner AIR9

I swapped out all the part from the Jet to the AIR. I bought some new cables as I was not crazy about the Alligator ilinks I had used. They were great, but a little finicky to set up. I also had to buy a new seatpost as the seatpost diameters were different.

I got in a short 3 mile “teaser” ride on Friday after everything was done. I immediately noticed that I felt a slightly forward bias as compared to the JET. This bias made me feel more susceptible to going over the bars. I only noticed this in some short downhill sections but since I was on a new bike high and I was only doing 3 miles, I decided to chalk this feeling up to the tackier trail which may have held my caused the front to grip better making me less balanced on the bike. It could also have been the fact that I haven’t ridden a mountain bike for about a month as I went through my busy season at work.

Scandium makes for a light frame that is still pleasing to ride

But today’s ride confirmed it: there is a slight forward bias to the bike as compared to the Jet. I got in a pre-work ride and I noticed I had to consciously push myself farther off the back of the bike on the downhills sections to feel as though I would not fly over the front of the bars. When I got to the office this morning I took a look at the geometry numbers for the first time and compared them with the Jet9.

So what caused this feeling of forward bias? A one-degree difference in Seat Tube Angle. All of the other “main” geometry figures were the same: head tube angle, effective top tube, head tube length. The difference of one degree in the Seat Tube Angle put the seat just a tad bit more forward and also a little higher since the seatpost height stayed the same.

After some consultation, I’ve decided to adjust to the difference rather than make changes to my cockpit setup, which is currently nearly identical to my previous setups.