Who is making the move to 2×10?

The big boys are making their pitch: 3×9 is dead. It’s all about the 2×10. But are you buying it? Switching over from 3×9 to 2×10 can be an expensive proposition. You are basically at the point of having to change out your whole drivetrain:
– Derailleurs
– Shifters
– Crank
– Cassette
– Chain

Only recently have we even begun to see cranks and cassette offerings that are in the budget of the normal man. Before that, SRAM only had the XX with the 10 speed cassette and as lightweight and appealing as it may be I am not dropping $300+ on a cassette. SRAM did show off the X.0, X.9 & X.7 groupo’s with 2×10 at Sea Otter but a quick google search shows me that much of the X.7 stuff is selling for about 50% more than their 3×9 counterparts. Ouch.


Beautiful XX cassette goes for over $300

Shimano has the 10 speed stuff down through their SLX line up available to purchase right now you are still looking at a 50% price increase. It would be like purchasing SLX stuff at the price of XT. Shimano did keep the triple crankset up front but my understanding is that if you go 10 speed in the rear, you will need to go with their Dyna-Sys lineup.

But beyond price, how many of us mortals can actually push a 2×10 through our rides? I occasionally ride my SS and I can tell you that I am very careful which rides I bring that bike on. If it has too many climbs, I’m bringing my geared bike. A few years ago I had a 1×9 as my main bike and even though I got a stronger I was still killing myself on the climbs and of course the 2+ hour rides were out of question as I would be walking more than riding.


Shimano is going 10 speed but with a special triple crankset

Even one of my good friends who competes in 12 hour rides prefers to keep his 3×9 for that extra gear when he hits the climbs late in his race.

I have to admit, the bling factor is definitely there especially for those high end builds and the weight savings would probably be nice. But I would rather spend XT money and get XT stuff rather than spend XT money to get an SLX 3×10 drivetrain.

Are you making the move to 10 speeds in the rear? If you are, what are your reasons for it?

Trek Demo Day, Part I

This past weekend, my friend Full Squish Randall & I went out and rode some bikes at the Trek Demo in Fullerton. First off, I got to give props to Matt Gfell of Jax Fullerton. Matt got us started on a couple of matching Gary Fisher Superflys. Full Squish Randall & I were like twin clydes on our Superfly demos!


Matt Gfell, General Manager extraordinaire at Jax Fullerton

This was Full Squish Randall’s first ride on a 29er and the Superfly did not disappoint. I heard many random 29” wheel comments from him including how he had better traction on the climbs than he did on his 26” bikes and of course the whole “momentum” thing. He also made a point to mention how the 29” wheels really do roll over trail stuff better than the 26” bike would.


I sat on “RL”

So we know the 29” wheels rock but how was the Superfly? Well, what I can tell you is that on our ride I really dug the Superfly.

The Superfly is the top of the line 29er hardtail produced by Gary Fisher. It is geared toward racing or just riding REALLY fast. The monocoque carbon frame comes equipped with a very good, but not all top of the line level build kit. Thankfully, the component specs does not take away from the bike. Rather the X0 shifters mated to the X9 front and X0 rear derailleurs made me reconsider just how much of a step down an all X9 drivetrain really is compared to the Superfly’s setup. But these are just little things. What about the frame, geometry and fork?


Superfly, I’m not crazy about the new graphics… I prefer the originals understated-ness

Well, the bike absolutely flies and I’m becoming more convinced of the G2 steering. The last time I was at the Trek Demo was about a year and a half ago when G2 had just come out. I was not fully convinced of the benefits of the G2 steering. I’m not sure as to why, but this year I am more of a convert.

Where the Superfly shines is fast swoopy singletrack. Oh me oh my! I was grinning like a mad man after railing through the beginning singletrack of the Fullerton Loop. This area is by no means technical but it is fast and it can be very fun if you’re on the right steed and the Superfly was the right steed. What makes it so much fun was really one thing: steering. The G2 geometry allowed me to rip through the singletrack section and steer with my hips rather than with my arms which then translated to riding much faster. I felt like I take more speed into the flowy turns, lower the bike and really rail the singletrack. It felt really nice.


Full Squish Randall getting some air… I took the picture too early, but I’m pretty sure Full Squish’s rear wheel comes off the ground shortly thereafter

The pedal power transfer is almost instantaneous as expected with the rebranded DT Swiss hubs. Climbing was much more fun, first because the bike is lighter than just about any other bike I’ve ridden save my SS and secondly because the bike transfers power so well. There is no loss of power in the frame or the hubs. Turn the cranks and the Superfly feels almost like it is squirting out from underneath you! This is definitely a plus for those climbing aficionados.

The last thing I really noticed on the Superfly is that I never felt as though I had to really push back off the saddle when going downhill. The Fullerton Loop has no particularly technical descents. There are some slightly more technical “extra credit” sections such as a couple of short offshoot sections that are steeper than the trail’s normal section. I hit as many of these extra credit sections and came away impressed that I really didn’t have to push back off the saddle as much as I normally would. I’m not sure why this I but I’m pretty sure it has to do with the geometry. It did make me feel more confident to take even more technical terrain with the Superfly knowing that the bike can probably do more than my skills allow.

All in all, a great fast, light bike. At an MSRP of over $4,000 it is too steep price wise for my wallet and I can do without the graphics but this little hardtail has got me thinking of Fisher’s G2 29er hardtails again… making me want to consider getting one down the line.

Check back in soon for my thoughts on the Roscoe III, the 2nd bike I got to ride at the Trek Demo.