I demoed the 5.5 on the gnarly intermediate Styles Ranch Trail in south San Jose, California and the EZ, Lazy, and Bar B Trails at the Moab Brand Trails near Moab, Utah, my favorite testing terrain.
I’ve had my wings clipped at bit. I drove 1,066 miles to crash on my first ride and damaged the climbing muscles in my left thigh. The Holy Cross Trail is double black diamond so not the best warmup trail. Me bad.
Yep, I tested this bike on the famous / infamous South Rim and Hidden Canyon trails on Gooseberry Mesa, Hurricane, Utah. My wife and I were demoing bikes at the March 2016 Hurricane MTB Festival in Hurricane, Utah. This is near the famous Red Bull Rampage site.
Our grips were looking pretty sad so we stopped by Trailhead Cycles in west San Jose to replace them. Lars, the owner, pointed us toward the Specialized Contour grips among others.
Owner Jeff Estes rigs up my demo ride at the Outerbike festival in Moab, UT in October 2015.
I’m trying to remember when Katya and I first met Jeff and Wendy but I think it was at the huge Sea Otter Classic bike festival a couple of years ago. At the time they didn’t have a trail bike. All mountain was as close as they could get for us. After a few beers we felt like we knew them forever. You have to meet these folks!!!!
We spent 2 1/2 years researching and riding demo bikes after we attended the 2013 Fruita Fat Tire Festival in Colorado. We had no idea what a bike festival was about but soon discovered that we were riding waaaay better bikes than our decade old Cannondale cross-country (XC) bikes. We were able to ride farther and at a higher skill level than we ever imagined. But why?
This video shares my research and experience with trail mountain bikes, a category of bike between cross-country and all mountain. I hope it saves you a lot of time and expense. I get into some details but try to focus only on what really matters for intermediates.
See my blog at http://intermediatemtb.com for information on specific bikes and my trail analysis for intermediates videos. You can also subscribe to this channel to be notified of uploaded videos – and there are a bunch more to come for Lake Tahoe, Moab, Zion-St. George, UT and Fruita – Grand Junction, CO.
I demoed this bike on the technical rock tread of the Stiles Ranch Trail in Santa Clara County’s Santa Teresa Park in south San Jose at Trailhead Cyclery’s Dirt Demo on November 8, 2015. This trail is upper intermediate technical difficulty and one of the best test tracks I’ve found outside of Moab. I hit large rocks and bounced through dense rock gardens that are at intermediate level or above. I never popped up my front wheel to climb them, imitating a rider who misses his or her line or doesn’t have that skill.
Video: Riding the Trance over modest rocks. The wide angle lens of the iPhone flattens the rocks; they are bigger than they appear.
Update from Moab October 2016: I tested the 4.5 against the 5.5 and 5+ at this Outerbike and for combined agility and roll-over at intermediate speeds this is my preferred ride. However, the 5+ is VERY tempting 🙂
I rode the gnarly rocks and switchbacks on the Stiles Ranch Trail in Santa Clara County’s Santa Teresa Park in south San Jose at Trailhead Cyclery’s Dirt Demo on November 8, 2015. This trail is upper intermediate technical difficulty and one of the best test tracks I’ve found outside of Moab. I hit every large rock I could target and avoided the best lines. Some rocks were 6″ or so in height and presented a vertical face to me. The rocks are spaced close to each other in many places so you hit them one after another will little time to prepare for the next. I never popped up my front wheel to climb them.