The last few weeks I've been doing some testing of different setups on my bike. Ive chosen a local loop at Ramapo Mt. for this testing. It has a good mix of everything you'll find in a race. Long fire road climb. Techy downhills. Techy single track and even some jeep road double track. The loop is just over 10miles and I hold the Kom at 1:08:58. On a 27.5 rigid ss with a 34:20.
Just a few observations from my rigid vs. sus tests.
(1) instead of being aggressive, I tend to stay on the seat and let the tech "come to me". This leads to slower trail riding overall.
(2) on the fork, I can be more aggressive on the downhills but it's a effort to do so. Not allowing proper recovery for next climb.
(3) there were some steep pitches that I just breeze up on the rigid that I actually had to get off and walk. I attribute this to not being able to use proper body english to maintain momentum.
(4) bike really seams vague and washy in the corners.
(5) I was pretty sloppy in the tech. Making many mistakes. Probably because I could get away with it on the forgiving sus fork.
My strava times were telling. I was 1m slower than my Kom even though I felt faster and with a higher heart rate than all other attempts. In the middle of the loop I was sure I was on record pace. All of the downhill segments I was faster on but only marginally. All of the uphill segments I was slower and I seemed to lose even more time uphill as the ride went on. Losing 48sec on the final 9min climb.
What does this all mean? I think I'm gonna be running a rigid for at least the xc racing this year. Obviously in the longer stuff the comfort factor will come into play but seconds are seconds and on a single you only have one game against the gearies. That's the ability to out climb them.
Next up, 27.5 vs 29 rigid testing...