Rider: Abby Railton 5’4”, 165 lbs, upper intermediate, enjoys fast descents, challenging climbs, and stopping to enjoy the view.
Bike: Specialized Rhyme Comp Carbon 6Fattie, Small frame
Trails ridden for test:
Round Valley Trail System (Matt’s Flat, Seventy 101, Rambler, Rademan’s Ridge,
Backslide), High Star Ranch Trail System, Bob’s Basin Freeride Trails, Trailside Bike Park, WOW Trail
Bike set up:
The first thing I noticed about this bike was the weight. The complete bike, with a stock set up, weighed in right around 30lbs. I knew it was going to take a little
getting used to. The awesome guys at the Downtown Bingham Cyclery store set me up using the auto sag feature on the RockShox Monarch rear shock to approximately 30% and 30% on the RockShox Yari fork. Ultimately, I left the suspension tuned to the factory recommendation for my weight and trail desires. I wasn’t able to max the suspension out on the trails I was riding.
Set up with tubes, I began testing the bike at 15psi. My own personal desire to climb more effectively lead me to run the tires at approx. 18psi, which definitely helped me climb quicker. This did, however, make the bike significantly less playful and grippy on the downhill.
I spent my time on this bike riding trails I’m so comfortable on that I could ride them with my eyes closed. Doing this gave me the best understanding of how the bike reacted differently than other bikes I’ve ridden. I immediately noticed how responsive the bike was. Expecting a behemoth, this bike is a pleasant surprise. I found it nimble, responsive, and easy to maneuver around sharp turns, through tight trees, and up rocky climbs.
It took a lot of the “thinking” out of riding for me. I found myself able to maintain conversation through rock gardens that would normally require my full attention. It increased my confidence to not overthink tricky downhill sections. Its upright geometry was both a blessing and a curse, I found my shoulders, neck, and back staying loose during the entire week I had the bike. However, because of that same upright geometry, I found it hard to get behind the balance of the bike without feeling like I was sitting on my tire. The lack of range of motion made steep switchbacks and drops a little harrier for me. As I finished up my test, I wondered if lowering the handlebars below the spacers on the headset would have helped solve this issue. I also found myself striking my pedal in places I don’t normally. After some research, I found I wasn’t the only one with comments on the low bottom bracket. This issue led me to be grateful I wasn’t riding it on desert trails where clearance would be a critical factor in how I was able to ride the bike.
All in all, I enjoyed my time on this bike. I felt like I was able to have a lot of fun with
it. I would definitely suggest this bike for someone who is looking for a bike to build
their confidence, especially on rockier, looser terrain.