Interbike 2008: Outdoor Demo Day Two

Now on to more hot and dust ridden reporting from Interbike’s Outdoor Demo Day two. This day was dominated by a big ride, but we’ll get to that in a minute here….

Here we have Raleigh Bike’s take on a sub-grand 29″er called the “Mojave 29”. The Mojave sports some pretty decent spec with an all Shimano drivetrain, Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic brakes with a 180mm front/160rear rotors, and a Rock Shox Dart 3 fork. The parts spec seemed up to the task, so what about this all new aluminum frame from Raleigh? Well, it’s all hydroformed tubing is plenty stiff where it needs to be. I thought the bike was a very competent handling package, better than Raleigh’s XXIX+G, but I am told the geometry is identical. Hmm…….that may be, but this bike should be on your radar if your budget is under a grand. Raleigh folks are telling me that MSRP is about $950.00 on this nice 29″er.

Next up we have the Felt 9 Elite Carbon bike. I must say up front that the biggest size Felt had to offer at the Demo was a size too small for me, which did hinder my take on climbing with this bike. I can say that it is brutally efficient and reminded me constantly of what it was, a race bred hard tail. In fact, there are reportedly a few pictures floating around the web that show my results of an over the bars trip I had on this rig. To be fair though, it really wasn’t meant to be taken off a four foot drop! Get your “ricky-racer” on with this rig though, as it isn’t really anything but fast. No perceivable give to be found in this frame from Felt. It’s definitely stiffer feeling than a Superfly vertically.

Here we have a rare one folks. A six inch travel front and rear LenzSport LunchBox. Devin Lenz continues to refine and tweak this platform into an amazing machine that defies conventions and would still qualify as the “eye opening” bike I said the ’08 LunchBox was I rode here last year. The tweaks have made improvements to the front end handling and of course, the short chain stays with an inch more travel are surprising in that they still clear the biggest 29″er tires out there with ease.

I took the LunchBox on an extended ride that started out with a long service road climb. The road surface was filled with soft, shaly, and granular “sand pits” that didn’t make the bike flinch in any way. Sometimes climbing in this sort of terrain reveals a front end that wallows and flops, but not the LunchBox. Climbing this beast was actually enjoyable. Once pointed down, you can imagine that six inches of travel can bail you out of a lot of “rookie” mistakes, and you would be correct. I will readily admit that Bootleg Canyon is not my “backyard” or that this sort of “chunk” riding is not high on my level of skill assets, so be aware that I am coming from that background.

That said, the LenzSport rig is a blast to ride and makes you want to do things you maybe shouldn’t be trying because the rig is more capable than the rider, (In this instance, anyway). The bike climbs with a smoothness that belies it’s long travel. Descending makes trail obstacles seem insignificant, but really, there is something more to that than just having six inches of travel on offer. The suspension needs to be balanced front to rear and be predictable in its performance to make having six inches of travel anything usable on a 29″er. The geometry needs to be predictable and stable all throughout that travel. That is a tall order for anybody making a 29″er and this coming from a virtual “one man show” makes the LenzSport even more amazing. It’s still in the “tweaking” phase, but this bike sets a high bar for anyone taking on the long travel 29″er platform in the future.

Check back later for more news from Twenty Nine Inches here at the 2008 Interbike Trade Show.

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No Responses to “Interbike 2008: Outdoor Demo Day Two”

  1. James Slemboksi Says:

    That LB didn’t happen to have the proto 35mm stanchion WB fork on it, did it? If so, please elaborate.

  2. Guitar Ted Says:

    James Slembowski: No, this Box had the current Fluid 150mm fork with the 20mm thru-axle. A really great fork actually.

  3. Rob Y from Ottawa Says:

    Man, that Lenz is one nice looking bike. I don’t see why people don’t like the WB 150mm fork, it seems like it would be reeeally nice.

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