Sunday, August 21, 2011
The Ibis report
So I have a few months on the HD now. Here is my take on the Plastic Fantastic. 30.5 lbs as pictured. Frame weight with RP23 is just over 6lbs.The stock build with all air and Mutano's was 28lbs. I have an air shock and the Mutano's if I want to to weenie out and save some energy for the long haul - SP2011.
Quick. Very quick. The combination of a very light and very stiff frame coupled with the DW link system gives this bikes an unnaturally "quick" feeling at the pedals. With minimal flex in the BB I theorize that there is a lot less energy loss and a more direct transfer to the drivetrain when hammering the pedals than with metal frame bikes. I do believe there is major credit due to the DW magic though too. Having demo'd a carbon SC Nomad at the same time I demo'd the HD, the HD was hands down faster "feeling". The Nomad was a bit of dog in comparison. Blasting through boulder fields I would suspect the Nomad would carry more speed though - I suspect. Why replace a sweet Intense Tracer? This spring I stopped by Trey's house to check out his fleet of new bikes. I hopped on his HD and it was over. I new I needed a carbon bike. Aluminum was officially antiquated. In shopping for a new ride I was looking for a heavy duty trail bike that I could cover some ground on with efficiency, as well as rail down any super d course or most importantly a duffy, rocky, rooty, rutted-out Capitol Forest moto trail in the window of perfection for the brief month or two in peak PNW summer. I set the HD up with a coil Vivid shock and the 170mm version of the Rock Shox Boxxer solo air - the Lyrik RC2DH and a Cane Creek Angleset -1 degree. I've been pretty pleased with the handling. The BB sits at a neutral height - just high enough to keep the pedals out of the rocks and low enough to rail corners pretty well. I do have a set of off-set shock bushings for the shock if I want to lower the BB some. After an awesome endo from a pedal strike in the rocks at the FNSDS, I'm not sure if I want it any lower now. I'm able to corner fairly well on it as is. Overall the bike gets a 4.5/5. Why not 5? There is no bike that is a 5. Carbon fiber? It is the future. Anyone who disagrees is either nostalgic or ignorant or prejudice. There is currently no way to make a frame this light, stiff and strong out of metal(the new HD is rumored to be as strong AND a 1/2 lb lighter!). If metals were superior for obtaining the trilogy of performance light/stiff/strong - modern military jets would still be made from recycled Papbst Blue Ribbon cans. Urp to the hip.
The HD is a very balanced bike that subtly conquers all tasks without drama or any quirky handling characteristics to get distracted over. Super precise handling, excellent pedaling efficiency and equally well suited for carving singletrack corners as it is for pinging through the roots and rocks. Balanced is the word that keeps coming to mind. Balanced. Balanced. Balanced.
This article was written by a rider who spends more time surfing VW forums than he does surfing the trails these days. A good rider can win on any bike(just look at Kona!), and the perfect bike is the bike you enjoy riding the most - no matter what it is made out of.