Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Year Review - Geax Saguaro 29'er Tires and Steel Kona Unit Fork

Geax Saguaro 29'er Tires

I'm finally down on tread on my Geax Saguaro Tires and it's been a year and one month since I mounted them. During that time, I did have to swap out a rear for new one, however. But, these things are looking slick'ish and I'm ready to try something different. I will keep the rear on for awhile and upgrade the front to a Maxxis Ardent 29 X 2.4, Kevlar Bead.

But before I start switching things up, I wanted to give a year's reflection on these tires. I bought the Geaxs to manage the trails I ride - which are, generally, dry and hardpacked. What has changed, however, is the terrain. This winter we had some very heavy rains which brought up very loose, large rocks. If the rains didn't beat up my trails so severely, I'd probably keep the same set-up. Unfortunately, the Geax's are not going to hack it anymore for the natural changes that have occurred here.

The Sagauros are exceptional tires. I didn't even have the TNT versions, and they mounted up ghetto tubeless beautifully. The sidewalls in this configuration are sketchy and please note that this set-up voids any warranty offered by Geax. They roll very fast, and I would run mine as low as 23psi. These are great for fireroads and hardpacked dirt trails and at low enough pressures, they would hook up quite well. Like most low-profile knob tires, the sweet spot for these are light rain, tacky clay trails. *Please note that tubeless set-ups done are at your own risk and I will not be responsible for your decision on doing so!

With a fast(er) rolling tire, you do have your drawbacks. Loose, rocky terrain will kill these tires and possibly leave you chewing on a rock. Recently, I have been experiencing front tire skidding under hard braking, which I have never had a problem with before. This has killed my confidence and this is what has caused me to upgrade to a more aggressive front tread. This is due mostly to the extreme change in my terrain.

I would still put this tire as a great contender for a fast rolling rear. I am very impressed with how well they work, but only under certain conditions.

Steel Kona Unit Fork

Here is another upgrade (downgrade) I did last April when I messed around with a Monster Cross set-up.

I still do prefer rigid riding. But I am starting to feel like the steel may be a bit harsh to contend with the changes that have occurred on my trails. I am hoping that the switch to a larger, high volume front tire eases the pain a little, but I admit that the steel is beating me up pretty good.

Rigid riding is not for everybody - so you have to decide for yourself what you want in a ride. For me, it is the control, no fork dive and "BMX-feeling" that I like. However, descends are much slower on technical stuff, and you do get beat up pretty well. I am probably going to upgrade my fork to a Carbon Niner in the next few months.

The Kona Unit fork has taken a beating with me and it stays right on point. I have crashed with it, jumped with it, climbed heavy, rocky terrain and cruised the beaches with it and it just delivers in a "set-it-and-forget-it sense. Again, it is really up to the rider what he/she wants and is willing to sacrifice for a rigid ride.

I think a real nice benefit to the Kona Unit Fork is the price. For under $100, a rider can "experiment" with rigid riding and not have to fully commit. Once committed (like me) he/she can upgrade to a more plush, superior fork like the Niner.

So, I guess this is where I would put a positive spin on the Kona Unit - you can "try" rigid and not feel like you have to take out a second mortgage on your home.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Let's Climb Stile Ranch Trail *on my steel rigid*

This is my first MTB video. I've done plenty of motorcycle and BMX vids, but I wanted to give this a try. Sorry, no hucking off huge drops or anything, just a steady climb up my local technical trail on my rigid 29'er.

Let's Climb Stile Ranch Trail *on my steel rigid* from Dion Rides Bikes on Vimeo.