Bit of an update.
The mechs have been changed, initially to 952 F&R, but the front mech was an E mount and it just didn't work well, so it now have a NOS top pull XT.
As a try out, we did a bit of a family and friends run at Haldon trail centre near Exeter yesterday. Haldon is a superb centre with well designed, well built and well maintained trails. A lot of the trails have a well bedded fine gravel surface, but there's plenty of peaty soil and bare rock too.
We rode the blue and then the red trails, both were a good test for me and the Dekerf. I'm glad to say we both coped admirably with the trails and despite complaining a couple of times with chattering chain and clunking forks (there are some pretty rough rocky sections which if taken too fast......
) I never had a moments worry.
Thinking about the frame after the ride, I have to say that the compliance shown by the frame and at the same time it's ability to turn extremely swiftly without losing grip at any point is really special. Obviously being rigid you do take the hits when riding slab rocks and hard rough surfaces, but a lot of the real sting is taken out of the trail by the frame while at the same time it is no problem to kick on hard coming out of a corner, or when the trail climbs sharply. Steering is pinpoint accurate, which is a great comfort when the only smooth line on the trail is almost exactly the width of the tyres. The back end is thrown about at times, but it always lands solidly and never feels like it is going to fishtail and over react and throw you over the bars.
I am totally and utterly impressed with this bike and will be riding it all winter; rain, shine and snow.
"Try not to punch any clowns"