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January 20, 2013

Let's talk about mountain biking and reliability...

So a long time ago (about four and a half years ago to be exact) I was bitten by the mountain biking bug. I had ridden mountain bikes before for a long time when I lived in Texas but the part of Texas I lived in was pretty flat. My first bike was a Diamondback Outlook that I purchased for about 250$ at a sporting goods store, I would ride this bicycle 25 miles almost every weekend for the next two years and I would end each ride with a cold root beer float at the local A&W restaurant.

 

 
After a while I was burnt out on riding and I sold my bike, I tried a couple of years later to get back into it and purchased another bicycle but by that time the route I was used to riding changed (massive McMansion housing developments had invaded my riding space!!) and I gave it up.

After moving to Washington my girlfriend (now wife) wanted to get bicycles and after doing little to no research she purchased us a couple of Schwinn 26" wheeled full suspension bikes from Target. We went into it knowing we may not like it (I know for sure I didn't want to ride) so we thought of these bikes as "disposable". We didn't ride much as I found out my girlfriends idea of riding was just pedaling around and taking in the scenery whereas I was used to going as fast as possible and breaking my last rides time.

 

 
  Fast forward to three years later and my job moves location, I now have access to some simple single track trails and some of my coworkers are really into it. I bust out my old Schwinn bicycle and start replacing parts as they need to be replaced. I was loving it! Riding in all kinds of weather I was just bitten again, I began doing research and apparently 29" wheels was becoming popular, I decided to build my own mountain bike, my 29er. I found a brand new hard tail Diamondback Overdrive frame on Ebay for 50$ and I scooped it up. I built the bike up on a budget and a couple of years later would end up spending a lot more money on it than I had thought.

A couple of weeks ago I rode in the Stinky Spoke Poker ride, a 17.5 mile ride which involved a climb called Heart Attack Hill, and mostly cross country scenic riding. I rode my hardtail 29er as I have it geared for climbing, after several stops to rest I was able to make it up Heart Attach Hill without ever advancing on foot, I even fell to my knees once as I was trying to get going again!

My Overdrive 29er

   

 

This past weekend my friend and his buddies invited me to ride out at one of the local bike parks, since I am in the process of building myself a new full suspension 29er (my friend and I both upgraded to full suspension in 2012) I took my hard tail Overdrive and had a blast. I was seriously wearing a smile on my face even though I was the slowest in the pack. 

When we were done on the trails and as we were riding back to our vehicles I had an epiphany, my hard tail 29er is going on five years old and while I have replaced a few wear and tear items it has never let me down on a ride. The last items I replaced on this bike were the cranks to save some weight and that was two years ago. I've taken some falls with it and ridden it pretty hard and I still love riding it (even if the ride is a bit rougher than on full suspension).  I feel although I spent much cash to get this bike to what it is today that I truly built the bike I wanted and I've gotten more than just a return on investment. I'm still out there on the trails with it when I need it and even though it'll never be the fanciest bike, to me it will always be the coolest and most reliable rig I could ever hope to ride.

 

 

 

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