My weekend adventure begin in Marin. Joined by some of my regular riding buddies we set out to ride some local trails. Guided by our friend James, who grew up in Marin, he took us up Tam, down the backside, into Fairfax, Tamarancho and back. I had the Enduro 29er with me, and chugged away on all of the climbs, but bombed down every descent with a gigantic smile on my face.
The Enduro is quite the bike, almost too much bike for me. I'm more of an XC rider, and with 6" of travel front and rear I had to relearn to how to ride such a big bike at times. It didn't do too badly on the climbs as long as you stayed seated, but once it was pointed downwards I aimed for big hits and drops. It was also the first time I used a dropper post. I've always wondered what was so great about being able to drop your seat a few inches, just ride that shit! But after a few tries I was addicted. I dropped it at every chance I could. I descended with more confidence and ultimately had more fun. Maybe was the post, but it also had a lot to do with the massive amount of travel I had to play with.
It was also the first time I got to ride SRAM's XX1 drivetrain. It was amazing. My only gripe is that it took quite a few clicks to get from one end of the cassette to the other. I think a GripShift setup would be more useful to me, especially since that's my current setup. It was nice not having to worry about dropped chains, cross-chaining or another shifter to be mindful of.
The Enduro was outfitted with some meaty tires. They're both pretty heavy duty, and I could feel it as I grunted up each climb, but they were so confidence inspiring going down. I could really lean in and carve without breaking loose. I'll definitely consider something wider and aggressive on my own rig.
Some key takeaways from my first ride: Suspension is a lot of fun and not to mention safer, dropper posts are rad and I may have to get on myself, bigger tires are just better, and lastly, riding a hardtail makes you a better rider. Being able to translate those handling skills to a big bike just make it easier to plow through anything.