Thursday, March 15, 2012


The search has been on for a new mountain bike. Full-suspension, hardtail, 26er, 29er, so many options. I've been tracking Peak Sports bike inventory and had noticed some price drops on the 2011s. Hmmm, for the price of a Stumpy, we could get a couple of Trek X-calibers. And they have both our sizes.

I should mention this decision came to Ron and I while we were miles away at the coast. (How fast can we get back to Corvallis...) We didn't rush, but we did get back in time for Ron to take a test ride on an x-cal, since he hadn't tried one. I went along as well, my third ride on this particular bike. He liked it. I liked it. We gave ourselves 24 hours to think about it, and went back after work on Monday to pick them up.

We swapped out the pedals and removed offending reflectors. So what do you get when you put 29 inch wheels on a small frame bike? You get no room for a fender, no room for a rack, the itty-bitty seat bag appears to fit, but forget about any bikepacking bags (as if I'd actually go bike camping!!!). Big wheels on a small frame look particularly dopey (a clown bike some say).
2011 X-caliber WSD 14.5" frame
2011 X-caliber 17.5" frame. Bigger frame. Not so dorky looking. 
Despite being sick, I wasn't about to pass up a ride on Friday. We have new bikes awaiting their inaugural ride. We had a very rare bit of sunshine and unusually warm weather forecast, and Ron had the day off. Yeah, I'm not staying home nursing a cold!
2011 Trek/Gary Fisher X-Caliber WSD
Unhappy to be sick. Happy to be on the trails
It was a short, easy and familiar ride, from the Lewisburg saddle to Dimple Hill and down Dan's trail. We don't have computers on the bikes yet, but it seemed like we climbed a little quicker than usual and kept the momentum going as we rode.
Geez! Stop with the bike pictures already. Yeah I'm a little obsessed right now.
Only one photo  of Ron and his new ride.
The big wheels make quick work of any gravel, deep or compacted, and roll over most any bump in the trail. Well, they didn't roll over this particular bump.
Tree down on Dans Trail
Ron rode more of the ditches than I, but I did ride a couple. We both walked the big nasty one.
Photos lie. This was a much deeper ditch in real life. Ron rode, I walked.
 I had a near tumble in one switchback, and one tumble that left me splatted on the trail in another switchback. (Thank goodness mud is soft!) No pain, no blood. Another reminder, eyes up, look where you want to go. Don't touch the front brake in a turn. You'd think I know this stuff by now.
Minor carnage
It was so nice out on Friday, and I wish I was up to a longer ride. We finished off the afternoon hanging out at Peak Sports and buying goodies for the bikes. New saddle, another fender, and ordered some quick release clamps for the seat tube.


  1. Sweet. Congrats on the new ride.

    It looks like it will be easier on you guys to put some rocky trial riding miles on them than the older ones. I am guessing these are lighter.

    Ahhh I remember Friday's sunshine. I even mowed the lawn last Friday. Not sure where all this rain came from but I want the sunshine back.

    1. Hi Trobairitz
      Not sure about rocky trails...I rather like the smooth ones! :)

      I'm beginning to fear that that Friday sunshine will be all we get this spring. :(

  2. Bluekat, you're doing fine with all the pictures of your new bike....the ones of Ron in bike shorts though.... :o

    Now lets remember that eyes up and no touchy on the front brake when on Sam and on gravel!


    Redleg's Rides

    Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

    1. Hi Dom
      LOL - Sorry about the bike shorts pic. I forgot to add my disclaimer and "spandex ahead" alert! Kinda burns the eyes, don't it? I hope you recover quickly! ;)

      Yes,yes. Definitely don't want to do the same with Sam. She's a little harder to get back up again!

  3. BlueKat:

    those look like great bikes. My bike is heavy and has cross type tires, so not good for trails. I think Ron looks good in shorts. It looks like you had warm weather on Friday.

    a tumble with no consequences, is good

    Riding the Wet Coast

  4. Hi Bob,
    A cross bike would work. :)
    Most of the trails we ride are pretty tame. Maybe someday we'll try some tougher stuff.

    I'm under no illusion that bike shorts are any thing but hideous looking! But they are the best gear for the job.

  5. Nice looking bikes. How heavy are they and what tire pressures do yo normally run?

  6. Hi Richard,
    I think they're around 28-29 lbs. We haven't actually checked. My old bike was 30 lbs, and Ron's a hefty 35. So not light, but better than what we had.

    We're converting to tubeless tires. Ron's already done mine and per the shop's recommendation we're running about 45 psi to help seat the bead, then we can drop down to 20-25 psi. This is our first foray into tubeless tires, so we'll see how it goes.

    BTW - in all my bike testing, I rode one of those fat tire snow bikes (Salsa Mukluk). That was the funnest bike I've ever ridden. It will put a huge smile on your face. :D

  7. difficult picking up a new bike, outfitting, transferring, test riding. I just don't know why you would up yourself through all that work. ;). I hope you know I am kidding. Love the new bike. Looks like it will tackle much.

  8. That's all the fun stuff! :) Especially the test riding.