We all know bikes can get real geeky and it's really easy to dissect a bike into its constituent parts but if you're considering buying a new bike the only way to really know is to sling your leg over it. Personally I would never buy a bike without test riding one first.
When I was last in Whistler during Crank Works I had the chance to test ride a number of DH bikes from the leading manufacturers and I was amazed at which bike blew me away. Its geometry and weight were not what I thought I would like. When I bought my Trek Slash I went with the idea of buying a Remedy, but when I actually slung a leg there was no doubt it was the Slash for me!
I took out a 29er to ride at Hamsterley, my stats and preconceptions said it wouldn't be as quick on flow trails. It was quite possible the fastest bike I have ever ridden on said trails!
I have had my eye on a carbon Hardtail 29er for a while but I recently got the chance to ride a (steel) Cotic Solaris and I had completely forgotten how important the construction material is for hardtails and how fantastic steel is!
I did a spell as a boot fitter in my youth and the owner of the shop always said to customers "we can talk about this from an academic point of view but if you want to know which boots are best, your feet are the best judge".
You can have an academic chat about bikes and geek out all day but ultimately your body is the best guide, let your body do its work.
A couple of tips:-
- Ride test bikes back to back where possible
- Ride a circuit you know and have times for or ride with a mate you can use as a gauge. Sometimes bikes don't feel great but the clock tells a different story!
18 Bikes in Hope have a Santa Cruz Demo day on the 31st of Jan. Obviously if you haven't done our flow course that must be top priority but if you're considering a new bike and Santa Cruz are on your list get down there!
If you know of a demo day going on let us know in the comments below. If you cant get to a demo day try and blag a mates bike for a spin :-)