Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2 v 0

Our national treasure known as Thom P posted up a little video today (which I can't share here because he's got some magical properties that bar me from figuring out how to embed it here...) that reminded me of something I wanted to mention.  If it hadn't been for the big TP, there would be no post today - so a round of applause for Thom.

What I wanted to reflect upon were my thoughts on the adjustment of going from a full suspension ride to a fully rigid one(9).

First big adjustment: NO front suspension.
Might sound harsh, but this was actually a welcomed change - weird I know.  On the Big Worm's maiden voyage I felt that the lack of front suspension helped me connect with the trail better and get into the berms with more confidence and speed.  On a trail going up or maintaining elevation there is no need for the front suspension - one can just loft the front tire over menacing roots and rocks.  Going downhill it's not so bad either.  Again, give your front end a little love and pick those lines quickly and precisely and you're good to go... sure your arms seem to get more of a workout than usual (which may be a function of lazy riding on the dual suspension) but it hasn't been a huge adjustment.  Or, maybe it's the big tractor tire I've got on there that helps.

So, when do you miss the front end suspension.  Haven't been missing it too much.  The weirdest riding experience sans front end suspension is when hitting little gully dips in the trail... you know, where the trail sharply dips and immediately comes back up at you.  That has been an interesting experience to ride without the front end soaking that up.  I've had to relearn the handling of those situations on the fly - and let me tell you, that can be a scary thing to learn at full speed.

Second big adjustment: the back wheel bounces!
My first impression was that I LOVE not having rear suspension (in some applications).  Climbing is even more fun then it was before!  That isn't a joke, I like climbing.  Not gravel grinds or forest roads that go on for miles on a super annoying incline that just keeps you in misery for extended periods of time.  But technical climbs that force you to motor on and find your way through the crap to get to the top - super sense of accomplishment!  I can look back and think to myself, I just laid a whooping on that trail - sucka!

The switch from dualie to zero has forced a change in positioning on the climbs.  You know, cause with one gear I'm standing more.  Inherently there is more balance to consider and weighting issues to ensure traction on the rear tire.  With the fully I would sit and spin more to account for bob.  I've experienced some loss of traction already on roots due to me being up and out of the saddle trying to fly up a hill.

But where I miss my rear suspension is in the gnarly stuff that the suspension would just eat up - allowing my rear wheel to stay grounded.  With nothing in the back, I actually have to think about the back wheel.  That's something I didn't realize until I felt the rear end go squirrely on me as roots and rocks were tossing my rear-end towards the sky.

Mind you, none of these are gripes... the Glow Worm is a super fast and maneuverable bike.  All of these "issues" can be overcome with rider adjustments.  They are just differences.  Do I love how on the HiFi I can point and shoot a decline over roots, rocks, and drops without too much concern - sure.  But I equally (if not more so) love the speed, connection, and "flickability" of the Glow Worm.

The Glow Worm keeps me focused and on my game cause the Glow Worm don't play!


  1. I agree with you, I would hate to live without the other, both offer great and different riding. At the end of the day, less parts to wear on SS rigid. I think we all know how maintaining and failing suspensions parts suuuccckkkk $$$$$$$$$

    1. This is an expensive activity for sure. But yeah, the HiFi isn't going anywhere. It'll be the fun bike for the mountains and the Glow Worm will be my everyday trail slayer.

  2. In slow technical riding I actually prefer rigid - no bob, sag, etc to deal with, it's super easy to put the wheels precisely where you want them, everything is very predictable

    I’ve considered putting a rigid fork on my geared hardtail. The weight savings would be really nice, and for 98% of the riding I do I just really don’t NEED suspension. I might feel differently if I lived in the mountains. Only time I miss suspension is on rough, steep downhills where you have to ride to brakes to stay alive. You can’t use your arms to absorb bumps when you’re bracing against the bars to keep from flipping over them, you’ll get jack hammered a bit in places like that. Very very VERY little of that around here though.

    The more you ride it the easier it will be, and the more you’ll like it. There is a bit of a learning curve for sure. Be sure to keep tweaking the air pressure in that front tire, you’d be surprised by how low you can go, and just a few psi can make a huge difference. I run mine under 20psi when using a big tire.

    1. I've been going lower with the psi in the front. I'm approaching 20, but haven't gone under yet.