Mar 1, 2009

I'm Loving It!

So here's my new baby. it's a BMC Fourstroke 02. Yep, I finally gave in and hung up my old hardtail and I must be honest and say that my bum is very grateful! In truth it is only the frame that is new, as the components are mostly from my Mongoose. The only new bits of kit are the SRAM X9 front derailleur and the KCNC Scandium SC Pro-Lite seat post.

I've had the new rig for a few weeks and it rides beautifully! It eats up the rocks and roots and is simply magnificent on singletrack. The rear shock is a DT Swiss XM180 and it seems to be a very ready performer.

I did miss the dynamics of the hardtail initially, but (and it's a very big but) the positives of the softtail far outweigh the dynamic advantages of the hardtail. Equally however, I have come to realise that a softtail can make a mediocre MTB'er look better than they might actually be. On a hardtail you have to work that bit harder, pick your lines a bit smarter and be prepared for the 'twitch' of the front wheel, especially on a racing frame. Whereas a softtail allows the rider to bump over stuff without really thinking about it too much. Certainly you don't have to be quite so picky over which line you follow over the rocky sections. Truth be told I am that mediocre MTB'er and I'm loving just how forgiving the new rig is!!! Have to say though, I'm really pleased that I cut my MTB teeth on a hardtail.

I only have two gripes so far, the first is a lack of water-bottle points as there is plenty of space for a second bottle on the underside of the top tube. The other gripe is that the wheel-base is about 2 inches longer so it doesn't fit into the back of my bakkie quite as well as the hardtail used to. Having said that we're getting a new bakkie in the next day or two so that will deal with that issue.

All in all I'm very very happy and I think this was a wise move before the Cape Epic. One of the biggest reasons for dropping out of the race is rider fatigue and a softtail should go some way to mitigating that particular problem. Hopefully my training will do the rest.

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