Interbike '07: Outdoor Demo: The Rides Part II

Probably one of the most popular bikes at the demo was the Spot belt drive single speed 29″ers. They were busy all day long on both days. I saw them on almost every ride I took too, telling me that there is a lot of interest in the design. The belts are made by Gates, a company well known in the automotive and motorcycle fields. The belt is matched up with some specially made cogs and chainrings that have little windows cut through them to evacuate any debris, dirt, or mud. The belt also has the ability to be washed, and it doesn’t require any special lubrication. Yay! Clean drive train!

The performance is quiet. No noise whatsoever. Well, not until you stop pedaling and the King hub starts it’s peculiar buzz. It might be really cool to have a silent hub on this system for the ultimate stealth single speed experience. I didn’t have any problems with the gearing. It was spot on for the Bootleg Canyon trails. I did get the system to “ratchet”, or skip a tooth once on a steep grade when I was grinding out of the saddle. It gave a loud PING!, and kept right on going. Afterwards, the Gates people told me that a guy my size with the power I was laying down should have the system tensioned a bit tighter which should eliminate the ratcheting problem. I think they were saying I am fat, (which is partially true, by the way), but really, it wasn’t a big deal. I think the system works really well and should be a great application in multi-geared rear hubs and possibly other areas of cycling.

As for the bike itself, the Spot was dialed. I really liked the way it rode, handled, and looked. I mean, just look at that flame paint job! It was probably one of the coolest looking rigs I had a chance to throw a leg over.

Carver Killer Bee proto

Here’s the “B” bike I really wanted to track down. The Carver Killer Bee titanium hard tail with a Fox front fork. This was going to give me a much better take on this whole “B” bike madness. Of course, it featured the only available off road combo of Pacenti Neo-Moto 2.3″ tires on Velocity Blunt hoops. The frame was all business. No fluff here. Out on the trail I thought, “Gee, this feels pretty good.” in that fast, nimble sort of way. Again, I experienced the less momentum, less roll over capability traits that I thought I sensed out on the Haro. I will say one thing, the bike was a hoot to ride. I might choose something like this for an ultra tight, technical course with a fair amount of climbing. I thought the wheels felt a bit harsher than a 29″ers might, but I have no idea what the air pressure in the Neo-Motos was, so I can’t point to the wheels and say the diameter was the culprit. The tires did do a great job on the loose, dusty, and rocky surfaces of the canyons trails though. All in all a fun bike. Did the diameter of the wheels make a dramatic difference? Umm……..not really, no. Just a great riding bike over all.

Diamond Back Overdrive

Another one of the new budget 29″ers will be the Diamond Back Overdrive Comp. This is it’s more expensive big brother, the Overdrive. Same frame, different parts. Diamond Back specs an aluminum frame for these two bikes and it’s a stiff platform. The bike has front triangle rigidity and goes where you point it. The rear end is a bit on the harsh side, but that means all your efforts are going into the trail surface, so that’s good to know. The Overdrive was well behaved, steered a tiny bit towards the slower side of the scale and handled the down hills with aplomb. Available in an XL too, which should please the bigger fellas out there. Good top tube roominess, so a stretched out position is easily attainable. Look for a possible further in depth review on this bike in the future.

Redline prototype frame

I got a chance to ride this prototype Redline 29″er with a totally tricked out set up that one of their sponsored racers ran on it. This frame will end up becoming the ’08 D660 29″er with a 1 X 9 drive train and a Reba fork. The frame uses the U6 aluminum tubes that Redline reserves for their upper echelon of bikes. The bike I rode was also in a burnt orange color that won’t make it into production. Too bad! It looked super cool to me. The stock color will be a red with some “barbed wire’ looking pinstripes and I was assured it was as jaw droppingly good looking as the rig I rode. Well, I don’t know about that, but the frame was dialed, that much I can say. Climbing was fun on this tube set, and it cornered and down hilled with a calmness and confidence that was fun to experience. I really liked this bike, and I think the production version should translate very well.

Niner R.I.P. 9

Well, much has been written and said about the R.I.P. 9 already, so I won’t bore you with the details. I will only say that I regret not having ridden one a lot sooner than today! It’s a fun bike, handles fantastically, and eats bumps up till the cows come home. Niner dialed this bike in right, and in the correct terrain for this design, I can’t think of a more enjoyable bike to ride than the R.I.P. 9. Look for something special to be presented tomorrow from these guys that will blow your socks off!

Lunchbox

Okay, this was the highlight of my day. Mike Curiak’s personal Lenz Lunchbox. What’s in the box? Well, a whole lotta fun is goin’ on there, podner! We’ve got your long travel, short chain stay rear end, your long travel, low air pressure front end, and big, humongous meats for tires that I can’t talk about. (Did I mention that the tires were ginormous and prototypes?) Well, anyway…..this is your all mountain, do anything rig with 29″er wheels. It was absolutely amazing how small it made everything out on Bootleg Canyon’s test trails. I found out real quick that the Lunchbox had a lot more performance potential than I have riding talent. Climbing was a non-issue. The short rear end and geometry was dialed in so that you could mash to the top without wasting much of your precious energy doing so. Of course, descending was an easy task and I found a lot of confidence in the bike right away. It cornered well for having slacker geometry than I was used to. Weight wasn’t bad either. Again, like the R.I.P. 9, if you had terrain worthy of this bike, you couldn’t do much better than a Lunchbox. Don’t ask me specifics on the geometry, weight, or for heavens sake, the tires, ’cause I don’t know. Frankly, I don’t really care either. The bike works, and it’s a smile inducing way to tackle big hit terrain. This should help put to rest the rumor that 29″ers will never be good at long travel fun.

Okay, that’s a wrap up on all the Outdoor Demo fun that I have for you all. Tomorrow we move indoors and I rid myself of this dusty coating on my body!

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No Responses to “Interbike '07: Outdoor Demo: The Rides Part II”

  1. Jonathan Gennick Says:

    Good writeup. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Nice photos too.

    About that belt-drive Spot: Back in the late 1980s I had a belt-drive motorcycle for a few years. The drive worked very well and was practically zero maintenance. It was smooth too. I liked it a lot. It’s nice to see someone bring belt-drive to the world of bicycles.

  2. Mike Says:

    Thanks for the update. The belt drive is pretty cool. I would like to find out how well it preforms in a wet muddy condition. Belts have been on motorcycles for a long time. A+ to the guy who thought the idea up and put it on a bike!

  3. Guitar Ted Says:

    Mike: The cogs have little evacuation windows that are said to clear out the mud just fine according to the Spot folks.

  4. Andrew Says:

    The belt drive Spot frames use a frame that splits at the dropout to get the belt in place. Why not just use elevated chainstays?

  5. Desert9r Says:

    Awesome write up, on both parts of it. The belt drive is intriguing but I wouldn’t get it simply due to that Chris King hub, there is enough noise in the world, why create more?

  6. Dirt McGirt Says:

    I recall seeing a belt drive on a chopper that Redline put out in ’03 (?). It was called the “Rain City Chopper” and was designed by a local motorcycle outfit in the Sodo District of Seattle.

    206 represent!

  7. Mike Says:

    Thanks for the response Ted. Hey Desert9r, King hubs rule. They make you pedal more and coast less.

  8. J Says:

    I heard from inside sources that the belt drive chirped like a cricket in the dry conditions out there.

  9. Guitar Ted Says:

    J: Yeah, I’d heard about that too, but did not witness nor experience it. In automotive circles, a squeaky belt can be temporarily cured with a spritz of water for a few seconds, or by using “belt dressing”. Neither solution being good for this bicycle application. They might have to go back to the drawing boards with this design before it’s consumer friendly.

  10. Interbike ‘07: Outdoor Demo: The Rides Part I… — Buckles and belts. Says:

    […] up with some specially made cogs and chainrings that have little windows cut through source: Interbike 07: Outdoor Demo: The Rides Part I…, Twenty Nine Inches 29er Bike Reviews, Rumors and […]

  11. Interbike ‘07: Outdoor Demo: The Rides Part II — Buckles and belts. Says:

    […] pressure front end, and big, humongous meats for tires that I cant talk about…. source: Interbike 07: Outdoor Demo: The Rides Part II, Twenty Nine […]

  12. Performance Tires Bargains Says:

    Performance Tires Bargains…

    Credit for this impressive stick goes to the new generation Viper s stiffer frame, improved suspension geometry and the staggered- sized, Michelin Pilot performance tires. [ Read More]…

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