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Wrench
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy guys,

I had my first race in a while this past weekend. Huntsville Classic, Cat 2 XC race. 18 miles of extremely, EXTREMELY sandy single track. My girlfriend and I camped out the night before in the park.

I knew the course was rooty and sandy. But this year was horrible. I came in right at 1 hour 30 minutes, and that's with a crash and a bunch of bogged down tires.

Everyone was having issues with the sand. On the downhills it felt like skiing. The one crash I got into was caused by me trying to take a line to get ahead of a racer about half a mile into the race. It ended with me hitting a huge pile of sand next to the course and going end over end.

But I'm happy with the performance of the bike (Sans a shaky headset which is boggling my mind. And FSA is of no help.) and the tires. I run a Neo Moto up front and a Quasi moto in the rear on American Classic 650b wheels and a Stans tubeless kit.

I was also wearing some interesting spy-glasses my boss let me borrow. I have about an hour's worth of footage of the race from a through-my-eyes perspective, but I'll have to do a lot of editing to make it look good.

Overall I had a fantastic time and this race reminds me of just how much I love XC racing. I came in 9th in my category and got a tiny little plaque. That was nice of them. The most important thing is that I passed numerous 29ers.

Here's what I think. Bigger wheels are better. But I have only ever felt one or two 29ers that I would own, and only 1 FS 29er that felt good. But even then it was a heavy clunker compared to my Cruz. 650b worked great for me and I passed numerous 29er bikes. That doesn't mean 650b is better, that just means that I was faster and I felt like it worked for me.

BUT!

The best thing about this race was the fact that I got my best friend to sign up and complete the Cat 3 race. It was his first race. He has a slight case of asthma and got into biking via my suggestion. I built his bike and taught him how to ride clipless, take technical sections, corner, etc. He came in at 1:09 and is now addicted. :thumbsup:

Him, before the race. He didn't look too good after the race!


A few action shots of my bike.



 

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Nice write up and good job on the racing.

Couple of questions for ya:

1. What year is your Superlight?
2. Did you have to put a travel reducer in the shock and if so, how much rear travel do you now get?
3. Were there any other 650b racers entered?
 

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Wrench
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769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a 2004 frame and I reduced the travel. I probably get 3.5" now. Never officially measured it. Never felt the need to.

And as far as I know, I was the only racer using 650b. Texas XC circuit is pretty much ruled by 29" bikes. It's what is being pushed at the local shops.
 

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Wrench
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769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
And wherein I destroy the 29ers...

Hello again,

Just thought I should update. I did a small race here locally. Just a 13 mile sprint race in some very, very twisty switch-back-ish single track here in Texas. The kind where if you aren't low and watch your arm/elbow/shoulder/head during turns, you will catch a tree or two.

I came in first place by 3 minutes. There were mainly 29ers racing the full course. There was also a few older gents on 26" steel horses from the 90's.

I came out of the start and took lead down a levee into a headwind. This separated many of the riders into groups. 1.5 miles into single track trails I had a half-crash in sand and dropped my chain. I was passed by 5 individuals. I cursed and got back on and got back into it. Not warming up before the race was a poor choice.

That was the only problem I had though. I managed to pass every rider that got by me (all of which, save for one, were on 29ers). I had a friend of mine race it. I managed to pass him on a hill (taking second) and then drop him when we hit more single track.

Last guy to pass was an older gent riding a full carbon Gary Fisher 29er hard tail. I caught him on the second to last trail, put distance between him on a sprint from one trailhead to another, then came out of the final single track and sprinted to the finish down the levee again.

$75 richer! It was a wonderful race and I felt like my bike performed incredibly in the turns. I run a Neo Moto up front and a Quasi in the rear, both tubeless. Grip was phenomenal. I could slide the rear tire when I needed to and the front stayed glued to the course.
 

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Great photos, and glad to hear your 650b is rocking the trail. The Cat 2 men's races have a LOT of extremely competitive riders in each age category, but the payout is great! Plus, it is close enough to Houston to bring out the undercover roadies. Congrats for being in the Top 10, which is no small accomplishment.
We were also at Huntsville for the race. The trail is not technical in any way, BUT there are more short climbs than you might think possible, a LOT of momentum killing loose sand and sand pits, and lots 'o roots, so very challenging in its own way. The weather was glorious & we loved camping there.
More fun to come at Ruston next weekend.
 

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Good result.That's where the 650b comes in to it's own. Extra cornering stability and grip over a 26" with out hauling round the wagon wheels, especially in the tight twistys.

I think the Neo 2.1 is a very good all round fast grippy tire. It feels faster than the quasi. The quasi bogs down at lower pressure and at higher pressure you loose speed in the rough. The neo 2.1 just seems smoother and faster. All be it 50g heavier. Like you say it's handy to hang out the rear in the tight stuff on a quasi though.
 

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Wrench
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769 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·


A picture of my bike on a rack.

GVS, I noticed that the Quasi tires are lighter and have less rolling resistance. I prefer them for my rear and the Neo in front for traction while cornering. I have had no experience with a Quasi up front.
 
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