After over a year of not being able to get it out of my mind, I finally pulled the trigger on brand new brand new 2011Specialized SX. It took over a year of thinking and the sale of my old fully to make it happen but this past July I broke down and filled out the paper work to pre-order the frame. The SX comes as a frame only and is produced in limited quantities so had to order it early and wait. The expected wait was going to be 5 months! An agonizingly long period of time to wait for a bike that I had been thinking about for at least a year previous. I was resigned to the wait though because I was pretty sure that the SX was going to deliver on the ride qualities that I am looking for. But fortunately, the wait was shortened when I discovered that Specialized had received an order from Taiwan and was holding 8+ frames in stock at their SLC, Utah warehouse. After making a quick call to Matt K at Specialized (inside sales rep), I had a brand new frame ordered, shipped and on the way the following day! Three days later I've got a smallish (bike bike standards) box sitting in front of me And it was only early October, a full two months early. Hell Yeah. Thanks Matt!
Pictures of my freshly unpacked frame.
|Close up of shock linkages|
So Why did I choose the 4" travel SX? As most people who know me are probably aware, I love dirt jumping. That snappy, responsive feeling you get from riding a hardtail on dirt jumps is what I love but I still like riding trails too. And the thought of having a bike that could do both well is very appealing. The trails here in B'ham, specifically Galby, tend to be tight and twisting because of all the trees and the j.umps tend to have little or no run-in. Negotiating trees, roots and rocks to get into a jump is the norm. And since most of the trails on Galbraith tend to be on a more shallow grade, getting the speed needed to clear some of the jumps can be a bit of a challenge. A snappier bike would certainly make it easier to keep up your momentum. As much as I like riding a 7 inch travel freeride bike on steeper trails it can be overkill on a mellower grade. And considering I prefer the predictability of a hardtail bike when jumping, less is definitely more terms of travel. A big bike, for me, is just to much work pedaling (because I'm lazy) and too hard to pop on the take-off on jumps (like I said, I'm lazy). On less lippy sender jumps that are gravity fed, longer travel is great but on smaller jumps, especially jumps that you have to pedal in to, a big bike just wears me out. The other option would be to use a an aggressive hardtail such as a dirt jumper. I tried that thanks to my friend Peter. He said that the mountain was pretty fun on a hardtail, so on his recommendation I rode my dirt jumper. On the smoother jump trails such as Evolution and Unemployment Line it was really fun. At least it fun was once I got loosened up enough to start letting the brake go. But every now and then, I'd rear wheel case a landing. And Ouch! Really hammer my ankles hard. After that ride, I started thinking that a short-travel full suspension, with dirt jumper like geometry, set up with minimal sag would be the way to go for riding trail and dirt jumps.You'd get the best of both worlds. And that's where the SX comes in. It's a short travel dual slalom bike with geometry similar to my dirt jumper but with a little give in the back just in case you come down hard. There are some other bikes out there that fit that description that I looked at but I settled on the SX for several reasons.
More to come...