Powered by ice cream.
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 hardtail SS...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!