I headed out for a ride on the Specialized Camber 29er Demo bike today, big wheels are big fun :o)
I managed a ride on our Orange 5 the other night, no mean feat as it is probably one of our most popular demo bikes. Also Ben (colleague and Cycle Recycle) is a recent 5 convert and has almost been living on it! However I must fess up, it was through pure laziness I chose to ride the 5. I was going to pull the Camber 29er down and saw that the 5 was still dirty from its demo a few days earlier, why have 2 bikes to wash on Thursday morning? I was a little apprehensive in advance because it was going to be a first time route on a first time bike. However I needn’t have worried. Even though the ride had an assortment of muddy, slippery and rocky descents the bike handled well, feeling alive and responsive without feeling too twitchy. Ascending on either tarmac or loose terrain wasn’t a chore either, in fact the bike is a really efficient climber, I put this down to the proven single pivot design. Simply, power transferred through the chain to the rear wheel has the effect of firming up the suspension. This is the first 26 inch wheel mountain bike that I’ve ridden off road in a while and the bike could have easily felt too much of a hand full. Instead I was left quietly impressed at its neutrality and even performance. I reckon at £2800 it represents great value when compared to its rivals. Don’t forget this is a UK product with hand made in Halifax frame, Hope brakes and Hope hubs, there’s no crap here. This is our best selling full suspension bike and it’s easy to see why. I like to think of it as the Porsche 911 of the bike world, evolution not revolution.
In fact Jeff (another colleague), liked the 5 so much he shelled out his own money on one. As a bit of a post script to this; I got to thinking the other day, the 5 All Mountain has a 160mm travel fork and as a consequence feels a lot more capable over large rocks (slacker head angle etc), but is the same frame. Why not buy a 5 pro and a pair of long forks, two bikes for the price of one eh!