How 1×9 got me ready for SS

As many of you know, we recently added the Sette Razzo frame to our lineup of bikes here at WCH. The Sette Razzo was built up as a SS. I have to admit, I was, and still am, very tentative about riding a single speed. I probably got that way due to all the Moe & RL puke stories. I, like many of you, are not a fan of puking.

SS can be quite a workout, especially if you go rigid

I decided to hit my local test loop, the Fully loop, for my first ride on the Razzo SS. The loop starts off for almost flat with just a twinge of an incline. I immediately felt the desire to shift gears and go faster, so much so that my right thumb twitched. Of course, there was no gear to change into so I ended up spinning really fast here and there. But I wasn’t used to all the spinning and my legs quickly got tired of it. I’m going to have to work on that part of SS riding.

What I was really afraid of were the climbs. None of the loop climbs are particularly long, about the only thing the loop is missing, but some are on the steeper side. The first short quick steep after crossing Euclid was conquered without any issues. Rolling along the street after the climb was a bit annoying because again I couldn’t get my legs to spin up fast enough. But ahead lay the climbs and as much as I was annoyed by all the spinning out I was cognizant that the lower gearing would be greatly beneficial on the climbs.

Redline Mono 9 has 9 gears. This helped get me ready for Single Speed riding

The climb that really got me antsy begins with a mild fireroad ascent. It then rolls along a little before hitting a short rooty section followed by a short steeper section. The end of this is a little past the halfway point of the loop. No puking on this climb. I was close… but I held it down. One more climb which is made difficult with railroad ties was up next and only my pride plus the presence of a couple of hikers stopped me from letting it flow.

What I came to realize over my SS ride was that my body had built up a bit of a familiarity to sustained standing climbs which is really your only other “gear” when you’re riding a SS. The familiarity was achieved when I began riding the Redline Mono 9, a 1×9 geared 29er. Before the 1×9, I would sit and spin my way up but when I rode the 1×9 consistently I realized that if I sat and spun all the hills, I’d quickly run out of gears.

So I adopted a different approach to climbing that included a mixture of spinning for a while then climbing while staying in the same gear. For example, if I was in gear 4 on a seated climb and I felt I wanted to change gears, instead of choosing to shift I’d stand up and climb for a bit. This essentially doubled the number of “gears” I had available to me from 9 to 18 and also eased my transition from 27 gears down to one.

Being comfortable with sustained standing climbs turned out to be a great help when I rode the single speed. I truly believe that if I went straight from 27 gears to just one, I probably would have joined RL & Moe with puke stories of my own.

Ride Report: The Luge

The Luge is finally back open after the fires from 2007. Whiting Ranch, which Joe rode in July the weekend of its Grand Opening, is across the street from the Luge and was also closed for months after the fire as well. I wasn’t able to get out for the initial reopening Luge ride, but a few of us did ride there a couple of weekends later.

The Luge is a great ride if a little short at just under 8 miles. It has a couple of grueling climbs but nothing too long and it ends with a fast singletrack descent from the flagpole.

Donnie, Mark, Tim “Scissors” & me. The Luge starts right behind us and descends along the faint singletrack down the mountain.

Donnie, Mark, Tim & I did something we normally don’t do and shuttled to the beginning of Santiago Truck Trail. This shortened our ride even more by allowing us to skip out on some road riding on Modjeska. Not normally a shuttler, I have definitely found the benefits to this type of riding! By the way, just an fyi, we found out afterwards that parking along the street before the dirt entrance is a big no, no. Some cops were giving out bright orange warnings, not tickets.

The Santiago Truck Trail part of the Luge ride is usually a bit on the boring side. It’s basically a fireroad climb to the flagpole which is the beginning of the “Luge” part of the Luge trail. But this time the STT was different. The trail was the same but the surrounding scenery was burnt making for very interesting views. The best part, though, was seeing how new growth was beginning to push its way through the burnt plants.

The weirdest thing was shooting down the Luge. The luge is fast, singletrack shaped in a sort of small “u” shape… hence the “Luge” name. It was weird riding down the Luge because on my previous trip here, the Redline Mono 9 handlebar got caught on a branch and I went OTB. This time though, the fires made sure that there were no branches to reach out and touch my bar. There were very few bushes at all which although a great relief to me, did take away from the Luge a bit.

The ride up STT didn’t have much vegetation to look at to begin with, but the fires didn’t help with the view either. I’m not complaining though as it’s definitely good to have the Luge back

Since we were strapped for time, the Luge was all we could schedule in for this morning ride. Next time though, with both Whiting Ranch & the Luge open, I’m definitely voting for a 2-fer.

Ride Report: Best Trail I’ve Ever Ridden?

The moon was still out. After the shuttle, we rode a short fireroad climb to the drop in for the singletrack

While most of the crew was doing some pre-riding of the Fontana race course, a few of us decided to head out to the San Gabriel mountains for some wicked good riding. Even though I don’t know the name of the trail I rode I’m still going to put this trail up there as maybe the best trail I’ve ever ridden.

As seen by the bike trailer, the shuttle van was PACKED.

The morning started ridiculously early at 4am. After a long drive, we finally arrived at our destination and proceeded to shuttle to the top of the mountain. The shuttle to the top was a quick half hour affair handled quite ably by our experienced driver. We probably pushed off at around 7am. After a short fireroad climb we dropped into a ton of singletrack that went on and on.

Tim “Scissors” and his Trek at the ruins. Although not the midway point, the ruins did break up the ride into a top “half” and bottom “half”

The singletrack was an absolute blast. The trails we rode were broken into two sections in my mind: a top half and a bottom half. The top half was a bit more sketchy, loose with more rocks than the bottom half. I was beginning to understand why everybody else on the shuttle had full suspension bikes with at least 5+ inches of travel. I was on my Redline 29er hardtail and was getting a little beat up, as expected. It also didn’t help that I ate it twice… the bike is ok as am I, thank you for asking. 🙂

Posing at the ruins. Wayland, Jeremy & Tim Scissors

Although the top half was a bit more hairy it is definitely something I want to get better and faster at. I got a flat at the beginning of the ride and as I was swapping out the tube, I got to see some of the downhill bike guys speed by. They were carrying a LOT more speed than I was down the trail which was very cool to watch and aspire to. Wayland, being the nut that he is, kept saying that he wanted to do this on his rigid SS. Love the guy, but he is definitely certifiable.

Tim, coming to a halt as we regrouped during the sweet singletrack. Lots of tree coverage here which is something I don’t see a lot of on some of the trails I ride in Orange County.

The bottom section which included Millard & El Prieto (among others), were also fun, but in a different way. The bottom half was less technical but much more flowing with lots of switchbacks and even a stream or two to cross. There were some stretches where we were doing some fireroad climbs exposed to the sun, but even these were balanced by the amazing views the climbs gave us… provided you weren’t too tired sucking wind to look at anything beyond your front tire.

Wayland waiting for us. Our original ride leader, Calvin, wasn’t able to make it to the ride due to some fires so Wayland led the way. He did a great job since we never back tracked once. Thanks W.

The trail did claim some victims, namely me: 2 flats, two falls (one OTB and another slow roll through some sharp rocks) and a pivot screw falling out from my front brake lever should have dampened my enthusiasm for this trail but it didn’t. This is definitely one of the best trails I have ever ridden. Now if only I knew it’s name… Paging Calvin.

The First Annual, Quarterly Lift Assisted Ride Report, Part IV

Exposure also allows for some sweet views! In the middle of the valley, you can see the fireroad we climbed. The day before, we were on the other side of the mountain riding the slopes

Just a few lessons learned from this past weekend of riding, plus some more random pictures that didn’t make it into the previous posts. By the way, thank Khoa for all the sweet pictures. He lugged around his camera when I was too lazy to carry mine. Thanks Khoa.

Bikes parked in the kitchen

Guys who ride your style
It’s better to ride with guys who ride your style than ride with guys who don’t. It’s as simple as that. It takes a little while but if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll easily define what style it is that you like to ride. I, for instance, enjoy fast, continuous singletrack with technical sections that don’t require me to drop my seatpost. Exposure doesn’t bother me too much nor do jumps under one-foot tall. I would like to get better at riding fun stuff like teeter totters and logs, but that isn’t particularly important to me. I don’t like climbing but it’s a necessary evil in my book.

Redline Mono 9 taking the lift

I do not liking riding gnarly terrain that is optimized for bikes with more than 5 inches of suspension. I don’t mind occasionally doing the ”point and shoot” through small rock gardens or other ugly stuff but I want a bit of a run out afterwards to get things back under control. Riding with those that enjoy downhill stuff is not only frustrating to me but is also frustrating to the DH rider waiting for me to walk a ridiculously steep or traction-less slope. Riding with guys that have the same tastes in riding as you do makes it easy to have fun for everyone. Just find stuff that you like to ride and they’ll like it too.

Not busy on the slopes today. You can see Big Bear Lake too

Ask for Guidance
The riding on Saturday morning was not our style and since the trails were not marked, we knew the afternoon was probably going to be hit and miss to find trails we like. So we did what any desperate mountain biker does when their back is up against the wall. We asked for guidance. But you can’t just ask anybody. You have to watch for tell tale clues as to the rider’s ability and familiarity lever before asking for help.

Trek Fuel EX 9.0 resting on the porch

What made Tim ask Deb for help beats me, but what I gathered from some hindsight is that Deb exhibited characteristics of one able to help. She had a good bike (a Specialized Safire), proper riding attire (plain woman’s no sleeve jersey and lycra shorts), proper sunglasses (not aviators which we saw a lot of, but riding glasses with interchange-able lenses) and two strap riding shoes. She also, I noticed much later, did not have a hydration pack. Combine this with the other characteristics and this is obvious a knowledgeable rider who is familiar with local trails and her own riding limits. You don’t want to find the poseur or waste time asking the newb.

Not really a “river”… more of a Santa Ana Stream. Pretty though.

If you don’t know what to do in regards to hydration, do as much as you can and then add another bottle. The long day of riding got me at the end when I started to cramp a little. The lesson here is to keep drinking. I decided not to fill up my water pack when we went out after lunch… a calculating decision that came back to haunt me at around 3:30pm. The cramping began in my legs and quickly spread, even hitting my triceps which have never cramped before. I ended up taking Khoa’s Accelerade filled bottle and drinking it all. Afterwards, I was ready for another run… maybe two if the lifts hadn’t stopped for the day. Drink, not just water, but stuff to replenish what your body loses and it’s always better to have a little extra than to not have enough. Thanks Khoa.

Jeremy cramping under a tree

HT vs. FS
If you can go with a full suspension bike, rock it. At the end of the first day, 7+ hours of riding mind you, my butt was feeling good. I was thinking “no problem” for tomorrow’s ride. But, I was wrong. My worst fear from the past two weeks sprang up and when I got on my saddle the next morning I could feel my sit bones aching. After riding up the fireroad I knew I’d appreciate a full suspension bike. For a guy not accustomed to spending so many hours on the saddle a little love from some full suspension would have gone a long way.

Tim at the SART trailhead

Not to say anything negative about my bike, though. The Redline Mono 9 with 29-inch wheels hung in there with the other full suspension bikes. The steel was great and I swapped back the White Brothers Magic 80mm 29er fork which worked excellently after I dialed it in. The Redline was never the limiting factor during the rides. The rider and his desire to live another day was.

A picture of the valley that the fireroad was in

SART Singletrack

Jeremy eavesdropping on Tim’s cell phone conversation

Khoa proudly finishes negotiating a switchback

Jeremy & Tim on SART

Thanks for all the comments & I hope you enjoyed our pictures and commentary.

The First Annual, Quarterly Lift Assisted Ride Report, Part I

Cabin sweet Cabin

This past weekend three of us went up to the local mountains for one day doing lift-assisted riding and the second day riding the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). We drove up on a Friday night and stayed at a cabin that had a front porch with full view of the lift we would be riding up on the next day. The bikes got a great spot in the kitchen. Every time I glanced at the bikes that first night I smiled. It’s just one of those things that bikes do to you.

The slopes & lift could be seen from our cabin porch!

Things had changed over the years in our local mountains. Just a few years ago the local mountain lift, Snow Summit, allowed you to bomb down the ski slopes with huge downhill/freeride bikes. But as the years have gone by, the local mountains have banned downhill/freeride bikes as well as riding down the slopes. In the meantime, great XC style & downhill trails developed as alternatives to the straight downhill slopes used by the winter skiers and snowboarders. The only difficulty? The XC and downhill trails are not marked, not on the trail and not on the map.

First ride up to the top: Khoa, Jeremy & JJ

We met up with two other friends when we got to the lifts. The other two guys decided to only join us for one day of riding… the wusses. j/k. 3 of us had never ridden the lifts before. 1 guy had but it was years ago and he spent most of that time on the now forbidden slopes. The last guy did the same lift-assisted riding last summer, so at least it wasn’t totally blind leading the blind. But still, we basically guessed wrong the whole morning.

A paragraph ago I mentioned that there were XC style & downhill trails? Well, all morning, except for maybe a short 1 mile section, we rode downhill style trails. “Rode” may be too generous a term here as you’ll see in the pictures below I did very little “riding” and lot more walking. And as always, the camera never makes the trails look as steep as they actually are.

Jeremy walking

Jeremy walking… some more

Jeremy walking… even more

OK, just so you know it wasn’t just me… Jeremy, Tim & JJ walking

Some random pictures:

Gotta love them lifts

The great thing about walking our bikes is that we get to see things we don’t normally see, like this caterpillar that Tim picked up. Tim nicknamed him the dinosaur caterpillar due to the horns and weird tail.

RL, you like the caterpillar?

Justin hitting the log jump

Justin, adding some flair to the jump

JJ, grinning like a mad man

Justin riding a log, no sweat

Redline Mono 9 & Trek 9.0 ready to hit the trails

Well utilized Honda Ridgeline

Part II, a HUGE lesson learned as things get much better.

Review: eXotic Carbon 29er Fork


In 1994 we developed an innovative military aerospace shock absorber system melding carbon fiber with aluminum to take advantage of the distinctive advantage of each material.

After developing this complex and innovative technology, we quickly realized the potential for our love of mountain biking. So using aerospace theory & high technology we started to design & produce bike components for our own enjoyment. Other riders soon wanted to know more…

Today, CarbonCycles make the highest quality carbon fiber bicycle components. Our design and manufacturing processes are truly innovative & our components perfectly balance light weight & strength.

Product Tested:
eXotic Carbon 29er Fork

eXotic 29er fork mounted to Redline Mono 9

Website’s MSRP:
$ 366.78


– Stunning flagship carbon mountain bike fork with 7075 Aluminium steerer, carbon fibre tube stanchions and forged 6061 Aluminium dropouts.
– This fork is disc brake specific.
– Weight: 680 gm
– 1 1/8 inch threadless ahead steerer
– Uncut steerer length: 265mm
– Diameter of carbon tubes: 34mm
– Rigorously tested to DIN standards.
– FoamX3 technology increases the impact strength of carbon fibre by up to three times by inserting low density foam during the manufacturing process.
– XBar Utilises XBar (pronounced cross-bar) technology to increase lateral strength by 30%.
– Rider weight limit: 95kg (210lbs)

About Me:
6’1�? 215lbs, 28 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the big 29er wheels. I’m mainly a XC/trail rider.

Full bike setup: fully rigid, with 2.35 inch tire Panaracer Rampage up front

Testing Grounds:
San Juan Trail, Fullerton Loop, Chino Hills State Park, Sea Otter, El Morro and various other southern California trails as well on the streets of Placentia and nearby cities.

First Impressions:
I’m a big fan of carbon, especially for the way it looks. Adding a component with carbon weave has to be one of the best looking things you can add to a bike. But being a husband and father of two has limited the addition of carbon bits to my bike. The carbon weave eXotic fork is truly gorgeous.

Carbon weave is so pretty.

When you hop on the bike you immediately notice that the carbon fork lightens the bike up a lot. I originally started out with a steel fork then moved to an 80mm suspended fork. Now going back to rigid, I immediately noticed the weight difference. I believe it was a drop of about 1.5 lbs.

As a poor Clydesdale I have always stayed away from carbon products. I feared the weakness that many carbon products are “known�? for. So it was with a bit of trepidation that I took on the eXotic Carbon Fork, especially since the website clearly states that the weight limit is 210 lbs and I am 210 lbs when I first get out of bed, fully relieve myself and stand in my birthday suit on the scale (yes, a pretty picture… I know). But, as always, I’m willing to take one for the team.

I was skeptical about the whole “Xbar�? technology that claimed a 30% increase in lateral strength and “FoamX3�? which increases impact strength by inserting foam during the manufacturing process. But after riding this fork hard over the past few months I have to admit that I’m surprised at how well it has held up. I have not held back on the eXotic fork. I’ve take my normal jumps and drops. I’ve run it through rocky sections of the trail. I even put on a 7 inch rotor up front to test how well it does when stressed by a bigger rotor. About the only thing I won’t do is ride through a section that I know I’ll fall on (got to protect the clearcoat). After all of this riding, a check of the fork this morning shows absolutely no problems. The crown looks great. The stanchions look super nice, almost brand new. The clearcoat is still clear and the dropouts show wear from the quick release but that’s normal. I am definitely impressed.

Tackling a short downhill section on the eXotic fork

The eXotic carbon fork is SUPER comfortable. Compared to a steel fork, there is really no comparison. The feel of a steel fork is nice, but not comfortable. A steel fork dampens some trail chatter but it’s still steel. To think it would do more than that is dreaming. I think of a steel fork as just beginning to mute out trail chatter.

The eXotic carbon fork, on the other hand, takes a significant step up in muting trail chatter. The chatter doesn’t quite vanish as it would if I was running a nice suspension fork, but the carbon fork does make riding easier on the hands and arms. On one particular local trail there is a section of about 4 miles that is fast, rolling fireroad. On the downhills I can easily reach speeds of over 30 mph on the rigid. This fireroad, though, is typical So. Cal fireroad. It’s hardpacked, has washboard stutter bumps and is rutted in many places. When I previously rode this section of trail with the steel fork my hands would be exhausted and sometimes even stinging from the trail. But with the eXotic carbon fork my hands still feel strong afterwards.

Comfortable on the dirt covered rock

The carbon fork lightens up the bike but particularly the front end. I feel this a lot when climbing a trail that has lots of roots or rocks. Lofting the front wheel is so much easier when it is 1.5 lbs lighter than a suspended fork. I especially noticed this when I was switching back and forth between a full suspension bike that weighs nearly the same as the bike with the carbon fork. Raising the lighter front end to clear roots and rocks, especially when I’m tired, requires less effort saving my strength for turning the cranks.

As with all carbon products, the clearcoat covering the carbon needs to stay in pristine condition. Once you scratch up the clearcoat, you’ve got to be extra careful about the component. Because of this, I took extra caution with my brake housing. I did not take extra caution while riding around on the trails. I decided to install a Sette Clear Frame Patch Protectors on the spot where the hose would rub the fork.

Other than this precaution, I had no issues with this fork.

Sette Frame Patch Protectors to protect the carbon’s clear coat finish from the dreaded brake hose

The eXotic Carbon 29er fork has performed extremely well over the review period. It has been comfortable, strong, light and very easy on the eyes. I would highly recommend this fork for those looking to ride their mountain bike rigid.

Click here for more information about the eXotic Carbon 29er fork.

The fork is dirty, but ready to roll

First Impressions: Tyte Rack

Tyte Rack sent over their universal roof top bike rack to us for testing. Here is what Tyte Rack says about their rack:

Tyte Rack roof racks incorporate a unique design, that make them the best rack today to carry bicycles on a vehicle roof. In addition, this rack is very versatile and adapts to your other recreational and sporting activities, including but not limited to, skiing, kayaking, surfing to name a few.

(1) Can easily attach to factory racks and will attach to the car without factory racks click here to learn how it will fit both of your cars.
(2) Universal bike attachment, click here to learn why this bicycle attachment is more stable.
(3) Bike frame security without the wheel removal and without the optional wheel holder.
(4) Reduced reach requirements for bike loading and unloading (approximately 12″ ).

Tyte Rack mounted with Redline Mono 9

I’ve actually been driving around with just the rack on my car for a little over a week. I wanted to make sure that I could confidently carry my 29er on there without fear of having the rack fall off the roof of my car. After a week of driving it around Southern California including hitting the freeways and going umm… fast, the Tyte rack has shown to be stable. The hooks and straps have not budged and although there is some noise, the rack has proven secure.

Side view

On the first night, I spent about 30 minutes trying to understand the directions before I gave up. A day or two later I jumped on the website and saw some pictures and finally understood what to do. I always feel that a picture is worth a thousand words so we recommended Tyte Rack to provide more pictures on their instruction manual and their website. They took this suggestion and added a TON of pictures. I found this instruction page to be especially helpful, more so than the actual Instruction page. This page and the links on the left makes it much easier to understand how to mount the rack and bike.

All the materials are solid yet light weight. The bars going across the car’s roof are small and round but coated with a durable finish. The tapered seatpost attachment fits perfectly into my 27.2mm seatpost while the straps for the handlebar are strong. The only part that I had any problem with is the rubber boot on the bottom of the towers which had a tendency to fall off when it was not mounted onto the car. Just watch out for these and you’ll be ok.

Tapered seatpost installed into seatpost socket & frame of bike

Once I understood how the whole system worked, the Tyte Rack setup/tear down became VERY quick and was easy. Mount the rack, secure the straps and hooks, mount the bike and secure the handlebar and you’re all set. It takes probably about 10 minutes. Tear down was even faster.

It does seem to be universal. I mounted the rack to my Honda Accord and after fiddling with it a while, I can understand why Tyte Rack claims to be a universal rack. It has minor adjustments that can be made on the bar and the straps can be lengthened or shortened to fit many if not all cars.

Tower, rubber boot, hook and straps all secure

Since I’m still laid up (I think I’ll be riding again next week!!) I only got to drive the Tyte rack around the block a few times but I did choose to go over some speed bumps and I raised my speed all the way up to 40+mph, legally. I had my windows rolled down the whole time listening for any signs that the rack might be shifting but I heard none. Interestingly I didn’t hear any of the noise I had previously heard with just the rack on my car. I hope this bodes well for future trips.

This short first impressions could not be complete without mentioning the price. Tyte rack has aggressively priced their racks starting at $89. For a limited time though the standard rack has a $10 discount which makes it a very good value for any type of roof mount bike rack.

Handlebar straps. Two of them

We’ll be taking this rack out to the trail & back over the next couple of months to give it a good workout. Come back to check out the review.

For more information about the Tyte Rack, click here.

An “RL” shot: reflection of the Tyte rack on my Accord

I Decided to Fall again…

… this time sans pads and while I was at it, sans shoes and socks as well. Let me explain.

It all started with a quest to find a seatpost clamp with a quick release. I had been looking for one for the Redline Mono 9 for a while now. Since I was going to buy one I decided to buy one in the color I wanted, red. I originally guessed at the diameter and purchased one from Hope. Oops, wrong size. Stupid of me not to measure it so I took the bike to my LBS and had it measured. 30.6mm. Hope doesn’t make a 30.6mm seatpost clamp so I purchased a Salsa version instead.

I received the gorgeous seatpost clamp yesterday and tried putting it on… but it was too big. Sweaty and frustrated, I put on the old non quick release seatpost clamp. I torqued it down quite a bit (I’m a big rider, k?) and SNAP! The bolt broke inside the clamp. Ugh. I wasn’t able to pull out the bolt and I didn’t have another seatpost clamp so I had to go with a different bike.

Really frustrated now, late to the ride and at my whits end as to what to do about getting the right sized seatpost clamp, I grabbed another bike, threw it on the rack and raced out to the trailhead. I got there, pulled the bike off the rack and realized that I forgotten my socks. OK, not bad. I can still ride. Then I realized I forgot my shoes too. Double Ugh. I guess I’ll just have to wear my sandals.

Off we went. We turned on our lights just before we arrived at the first downhill. On that first downhill I decided to fall… hard. I rolled around, scraped up my left arm, knee, leg and foot. The foot got the worst of it (if I had only brought my shoes!). After a quick check I noticed that one gash on my foot was relatively deep and wide. I decided that I should probably have it seen by the doctor.

RL, Priscilla & I rode back to the trailhead. I then proceeded to drive to the hospital. When I got there the doctor told me that the hole in my foot was too wide to stitch up. Yuck. All the rest were of my wounds were superficial skin scrapes which I suspected. Here is what I look like after being bandaged:

Pretty huh?

RL has a picture of that hole on my foot on his camera somewhere. I’m sure he’ll be more then happy to post it in the comments section later on.

Moral of the story: buy the right sized seatpost clamp the first time.

A Return to Rigid

eXotic Carbon rigid fork

Today was a beautiful morning to put in some mountain biking time on the recently installed eXotic carbon 29er fork. I went to my nearby trail while it was still dark and put in a slow paced 8 miles.

Carbon weave… oh so pretty

It’s funny because my body seemed to subconsciously realize that I am not training for a race. I don’t know why or how but after 5 minutes of riding I found myself going real soft and smooth. I wasn’t at my normal “push myself? speed. I’m sure it wasn’t the new fork because a few days earlier I took it out for a ride and I was pushing it pretty hard. It was a little odd not having the constant desire to push myself and see if I could get my fastest time possible on this route. Rather on hills that I’d usually choose a middle gear in the back, I chose a lower gear. On parts that I would normally blast down and “deftly? carve, I gently rolled through and enjoyed the scenery. It was nice.

Nice crown

It was especially nice with the carbon fork. My previous time on a rigid fork was a steel fork that the Mono 9 came with. The steel fork was very nice. It made me a believer in riding rigid. And now that I have this carbon fork I’m enjoying my rigid days again.

Crossing a bridge, the eXotic fork was raring to go

First Impression: Tuckerman Hatchback XT Bike Carrier/Rack

Tuckerman Hatchback XT Bike Carrier/Rack

Last night I swung by RL’s to pick up our newest piece of test equipment, the Tuckerman Hatchback XT Bike Carrier/Rack. RL and I proceeded to install the rack on my Honda Pilot and with a little finagling we were able to find the sweet spot for the rack on the rear hatch.

Redline Mono 9 secured to the Tuckerman Bike Rack

Here is what the manufacturer says about the Tuckerman Hatchback XT Bike Carrier/Rack:

– Safely transporting bikes without hitch receiver or roof racks.
– Sliding wheel trays fit up to 21 inch frame bikes.
– The rack is constructed by 100% aluminum alloy. Ultra lightweight, sturdy and stylish.
– Premium rubber pads protect the vehicles finish.
– Adjustable frames fit on most SUV(s), mini vans, cargo vans. For complete fit list, download vehicle fit guide.
– Securely fit to vehicle with easy to use adjustable ratchet.
– Hatch door is accessible when bikes are not loaded.
– Some assembly required.
– 2 bikes up to 95 lbs.
– Warranty: Life Time
– Materials: Aluminum alloy, rubber
– Model No: XT
– Weight: 21 lbs

My large sized mountain bike can be seen over the roofline of my vehicle

After I brought it home, I mounted up my 29er on it and took it for a test spin. The bike did OK back there. I only went about a half mile, but I did find a small ditch and a speed bump to go over. The rack held the bike fine.

Wheel Tray can be slid outwards or inwards

Some quick thoughts on the rack:

– It is LIGHT. For what it is, a two bike rack, the Tuckerman is light. The specifications say 21 lbs and there is no reason for me to doubt that weight. The weight benefit does come at a slight cost though as the aluminum used is not the strongest but it does the job. The question becomes will it continue to do the job after a few months of testing? That, we’ll find out.

Inside trays are both together. Outside trays are moved as wide as possible

– The Tuckerman rack is very adjustable. There are a variety of adjustment points for installing the rack on the back of your vehicle which makes it able to fit on most any minivan/suv/van. But not only are there a ton of adjustments for installing the rack on the back of your vehicle, but there are a lot of adjustments for putting your bike on the trays. The trays have tracks to move outward/inward and the screw that holds the trays in place can actually be moved outward so bikes with longer wheelbases fit on there too. The arm that holds the toptube of the bike telescopes in and out and there is a knob that can be turned to adjust the tension of the arm clamp.

Telescoping arm clamps onto top tube of outside bike

– Rack contact point with the car are all padded or covered with thick plastic. The hooks are all covered with thick plastic to prevent scratches to the vehicle while the flat pads have soft rubber where it touches the car. These are nice thoughts and I look forward to seeing how it holds up.

Side view, 2.2″ tires are about as wide as the tray will accept

I’ll spend some time testing this bike rack out but I’m sure the Tuckerman will also see some time on a minivan as well. Keep checking back for the updates and a review of the rack.

Click here for the Tuckerman Hatchback XT Bike Carrier/Rack website.

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