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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I rode the Zion today. Good 2 hours all over Granite Basin. A good taste of the local terrain.

This is the first full rigid bike I have ridden (off road) in over a year, and probably the first time I have enjoyed riding rigid in the past five years.

I really liked it. It cornered great, climbed great, lofted over obstacles. Comfort was fine. Much better than I expected, or have previously experienced on a rigid bike (this includes a Schwinn high Sierra, Giant Yukon, and Surly Karate Monkey). The Monkey wasn't bad, but the Zion is way better in the teeth chattering comfort arena.

A little history: When I started riding mountain bikes as a teenager in the 80's, rigid was what we had, and it was good, very good. I took the 90's off to learn the skills that now support my family. When I returned to biking in 2000, I was still riding a late 80's machine. I scoffed at all the riders I saw with "shocks" or "suspension"..."crutches for those who can't ride" I said in my arrogance.

Unfortunately, as I rode more, I found myself getting more and more beat up, with more and more sore spots. I decided the time was right for a new bike and went whole hog, gears, full suspension, etc...and it was good. I scoffed at those who did not appreciate the major advantage in comfort and control that suspension offered.

I tried single speed for a while on the Giant Yukon built like a lead pipe. It was simply too rough riding, and beat me up too bad. I liked the SS thing, but the lack of suspension was killing me. I gave it up. "SS is stupid retro-grouch stuff" I opined. "Might as well hike."

Then I tried Dan's Big wheeled Karate Monkey SS, and it blew my mind. Fully rigid. One gear. How can this be so nice? I bought one to experiment. "These 29 inch wheels are the best thing since sliced bread." "I'm never going back to the little wheels." Slowly I replaced the stable of little wheeled bikes.

29"er FS...check
29"er hardtail SS...check
29"er commuter...check

The Monkey started to annoy me with the drop-out design, I had the chance to sell it and try the Zion (at the time the lowest priced frame on the market), so I went for it, fully thinking the Zion would turn into the SS commuter that the Monkey was. I figured I'd gear it for off road for a while and see what happened. As it has happened, I love it off road...with a suspension fork. The fork needed to go back to the FS bike, so I plopped the rigid fork onto the Zion and tried riding it today with the above results. I am really questioning my need for any suspension on the SS bike at this point.

So, I am finding that the $65 fork on the $250 frame is turning out to be one of the funnest bikes I own.

I am also finding I am a lot more open minded these days about what makes a great ride. The more I learn, the less dogmatic I become.

I'm even trying out a little wheeled bike!
 

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Regress in technology, progress in skills.

The Curtlo will work even better now! You'll need to bring the Zion and we'll go ride Mint Wash some time, I rode it a few days ago for the first time in over a month. We live in a good place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ionsmuse said:
RYou'll need to bring the Zion and we'll go ride Mint Wash some time,
I went through Mint Wash 1.5 times yesterday, and was surprised at how easy the rock work was without suspension dive, etc.

I love living here. Never expected to have it so good after suffering in the midwest for 12 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ionsmuse said:
Amen. Riding this morning put in a mood exceedingly pleased with existence at large.
Ah yes, the post ride buzz.

I find that it is more intense the less suspension and gears I use. It must be related to some sort of catecholamine/endogenous opiate release from all the jolting/strain of muscles.
 

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It's hard for me to believe there is such a night and day difference between the Monkey and the Zion. Were you riding the same tires at the same pressure?
They are both "stout" double butted 4130 framesets - Surely you will get more compliance from dropping a few PSI than any [welcome] flex in those framesets... No?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
undead said:
It's hard for me to believe there is such a night and day difference between the Monkey and the Zion. Were you riding the same tires at the same pressure?
They are both "stout" double butted 4130 framesets - Surely you will get more compliance from dropping a few PSI than any [welcome] flex in those framesets... No?
While I agree with you objectively and factually, subjectively, there is an enormous difference to me.

I was running Exi's or Nano's or Big Apples (2.35) on the Monkey, and have an Ignitor rear, Nevegal front on the Zion, both bikes were run at relatively low pressures. I have heard that Exi's are not particularly compliant despite their volume.

Most of my miles on the Monkey were commuter miles (hours and hours) with a few trail miles and commuter trails thrown into the mix. It was a rougher ride.

I think the shorter seat tube and much longer exposed post on the Zion counts for some shock absorption in the rear, but honestly, I noticed it more on the front end as my hands were not beat up at all. Could I compliment the Nevegal for this? Possibly. I never tried one on the Monkey.
 

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Enel said:
So, I am finding that the $65 fork on the $250 frame is turning out to be one of the funnest bikes I own.
Doh! If only you hadn't declared this about your Comandante six months ago I might have saved a lot of money! :D :D

Not to hijack the thread, but I have been running my Comandante 1x9 lately and loving it. My El Cap is getting lonely in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
AOK said:
Doh! If only you hadn't declared this about your Comandante six months ago I might have saved a lot of money! :D :D

Not to hijack the thread, but I have been running my Comandante 1x9 lately and loving it. My El Cap is getting lonely in the garage.
Indeed! El Comandante is beautiful and the steering is awesome, but let's just say I'm glad I got a steal on that thing via ebay.

I like it very much, so now it will be my "all mountain/all day" SS with the suspension fork, while the steel will stay full rigid. I could also gear it up since I don't have a geared hardtail in the stable. I just don't get gears on hardtails though.

Maybe I'll ditch it though. Nobody needs this many bikes, but it's fun.
 
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