Back Into the Woods

I found a little extra time a few weeks ago to get back on a mountain bike. I took advantage of Cannondale having their demo truck at Rosaryville State Park. I hadn’t been on a mountain bike since I did a Trek demo last fall. It is really quite sad that I don’t get out on the trails more. 

It was a gorgeous day and it reminded me how much I miss riding in the woods. It took me back to when I was a kid spending endless hours in the woods behind our house riding our BMX bikes on the dirt trails we built.

Rosaryville is a near perfect venue. Not to hard but not boring in any way either. It is a great place to take a beginner mountain biker but still fun for the more seasoned rider. M.O.R.E. and IMBA have been putting a lot of work maintaining and upgrading the trails lately to preserve them for years of fun to come.
I got to ride three different models of Cannondale’s. I can tell a lot about a bike while riding it around the parking lot. Certainly you can tell a heck of a lot more while riding the bike where it was designed to be ridden, on the trail. It was time well spent not only for learning more about the bikes but also for simply getting back out in the woods. So I rode a Carbon Rush, spec’d just like what the pro team rides. Then I rode a Prophet and finished up my riding on the 29er. It is amazing what a difference the 29er wheels make over the standard 26in wheels. It takes a lot less effort to ride the 29er then a standard 26in wheel. Then you have the additional benefits of the 29er. More contact on the ground with the bigger wheel. This offers the rider greater control of the bike. With the higher axle placement it is easier to ride over stuff that gets in your way on the trail.    Cannondale equips the 29er with the Lefty fork. All of the bikes I rode had a Lefty on them. I fall more and more in love with the Lefty each time that I ride them. The front end is rock solid and does exactly what you want and expect it to do.  For 08 Cannondale is planning to add a few more 29er models to their line up, however not a full suspension version. (For a full suspension 29er check out a Gary Fisher Sugar.) Hopefully they will be making a lighter version of it. It is a tad on the heavy side but there is a few quick and easy places to lighten her up. Each of the tires that come with the bikes are around the 900 plus gram range. Secondly adding a two-piece crankset to the bike would further reduce the weight. If you are an endurance racer/rider adventure racer I highly recommend checking out a 29er. It is likely to be a perfect bike for you. I also think that for many cross country races the 29er would be a good fit depending on the terrain.  Full suspension mountain bikes are getting so light these days. The carbon Rush was no exception either. For me the Rush is a bike that I could ride all day. It was super fun, handled great and has a perfect amount of travel for this area. With bikes getting so niche oriented these days it is sometimes hard to pick a bike that serves multiple purposes. The Rush could be that perfect bike. If you like to ride cross country and single track and aren’t big into jumping off lots of stuff check out the Rush. If you are more into jumping off of stuff, but not to extreme then the Prophet might be a good choice for you. One of the neat things the Prophet offers is the ability to easily adjust the head tube angle from a cross country to a freeride angle. Ideal for someone who may ride in many different areas and wants to have that flexibility.

All in all it was a great day of riding and learning. I’ll write some more in depth reviews of the bikes shortly. Hope to see you on the trails.

 

About Ernest

Ernest is the owner of the Crofton Bike Doctor located in the Village of Waugh Chapel Shopping Center. Ernest has been in the industry since 1989 when he first started to work at the Bike Doctor of Arnold. During that time I developed a love for cycling and retail. I graduated from the University of Maryland and live and ride locally.

I enjoy riding off road and on the road as well as doing a little bike touring. As a teenager I did a trip in Maine and then over to Novia Scotia which helped cement my love for riding. Since then I have done tours in the Canyons of Utah as well as several trips along the C&O Canal. Today I have both mountain bikes and road bikes that I enjoy riding. One of the most exciting things now is my wife is beginning to develop a passion for riding and we have begun mountain bike together as well as some light road riding.

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