My Blog

Riding the Lust 27.5 2

17 September 2013

1236990 10151628553786003 1451414269 nRiding the Lust 27.5 2

A couple of years ago, I loved my 26” Anthem Advanced SL 0 – black stealthness it was the bomb.
I even won the WEMBO 24hr Solo champs in Italy on 2 of these awesome bikes in May 2012.
I did however have a XTC 29'er in my stable as well, racing this for marathon style events and shorter races.

What I loved mostly about the 26” bikes I owned was their ability to ride with me on the trail.

Me and the bike, we just rode, changed direction, sped up, climbed hard, accelerated quick, jumped, mono hopped, bunny hopped, flicked around corners, and generally had heaps of fun!
The bike felt as part of me, not an extension of my body.

I then met my 29'er XTC, initially tough to set up due to my height being 165cm and just not being able to get my climbing position right. My first race I laboured on climbs, feeling more upright, but totally bombing it on the downhills as though I had 4 or 5 inches of travel. I could see this bike had loads of potential if only I could feel good climbing.

With a bit of tweaking, we got the front end right and it was a dream bike then.
Learning to corner differently, “railing” corners, entering high and wide, preparing early, learning how to jump again, accelerating and flowing through my fave trails in Forrest were things to re learn. But eventually I got there and totally loved the downhill acceleration and forgiveness that came with the wheel size. Lumps bumps and obstacles became half the size.

For a while I hung onto my 26” bikes and raced them if I liked the way they rode the course better than the 29'er, but eventually I moved exclusively to the 29'er both in a hard tail and dual suspension. They are like luxury 4wd's!

With the new release from Giant – the 27.5” range, I have been looking forward to seeing and feeling the difference. I know the data provided, and of course overall this 'half' size wheel size is a very good middle man for the 26” and 29” lovers.

Today I rode the Lust 27.5 2 .
There are a few versions of the female specific bike including this high speced one: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bikes/model/lust.advanced.27.5.0/14947/66398/

The version 2 is a lower speced bike than what I am used to which is not a bad thing. I had to remind myself that plenty of people enjoy riding trails with heavier bikes with lesser componentry and this is ok. So I moved on from my precious state and relearnt how to just enjoy riding a bike on a trail regardless of my brake set up or lack of fast rolling wheel set.
I opened up my sensations to feel the difference, see the differences & hear any difference with what I was used to in a 29'er or 26'er.

Lust 27.5 2 2000pxTo start with even with a heavier bike, I felt like I was on a fiesty 26” bike, ready to punch out a fun trail. I was riding on top of the front end, placed nicely over the handlebars, with only dropping the head stem down and putting all the spacers above. This was a demo bike and I was not going to be too anal.
The handlebars where a bit narrower than what I was used to and the brake position had it been my bike, I would have swapped over the gear and brakes and brough the brakes in board for one finger braking.

As I climbed up Easy Street in Townsville, there are many rocks and small step ups to negotiate. The Lust got up and over every one of them with the ease I would expect from my 29'er. I even deliberately was lazy over a few to see how the wheel reacted, but happily so it went along unimpeded.

After climbing this I continued up Beefwood, more step ups, more rocky sections and up. Then onto The Long Way which is a steady uphill with bermed switchback corners. With a 29er I know I would need to enter these wide and really focus on the exit. I deliberately left my prep late and exit late just to see what adjustments would be accepted by my bike – it was all good, she was happy to change direction at the last second and did not put up a fight. Easy!

7847 10151629809536003 1377259451 nMy next challenge was to descend Rock and Roll, high berms, lots of rollers and corners, some rock armouring with drops and steps and loads of descending fun.
I have never ridden a 29'er on this trail but a lot of the corners would need be taken up high to allow for 2 big wheels to get through with speed. I found the Lust behaved like I would remember a 26” bike, quick, agile, fiesty, ready for anything and happy to have a play.
I was starting to have fun, really trusting the bike now and remembering what it was like to pick the bike up mid corner and change direction and land it, all within a split second of deciding that was what I wanted to do. FUN indeed.

At the bottom of Rock and Roll I continued along Red Tail Black, a rocky meandering descent with loads of features, loads of drops, and sharp rock armoured corners. I was able to allow the bike to munch up rocks like they were pebbles and have trust in the wheel clearance to just “float” over things. The difference I felt here was the quickness I could pump the front end, unweight the front wheel and launch, roll or float over things but still not get pushed around much. A 29'er would feel invincible yet still a little slow to react.

At the end of my ride I felt reaquainted with my love of a 26” bike, it felt much more like this than I imagined. Yet I felt that when it came to clearing obstacles and just letting it go downhill it had more of a 29'er characteristic but a agile one, if that makes sense.

I think for me when I get aquainted with my own Lust in the very near future, it will be a prized bike that I will be totally into riding. For many reasons, firstly and foremostly I will feel like I am the bike, not just a passenger like on a 29'er. This comfort in set up for someone of my height cannot be underestimated, its the single most important factor for me and my riding.

I am looking forward to having fun with it, hitting some jumps I love and pushing it hard and fast through flowing corners in Forrest and then seeing how it eats up Red Carpet descent.

Personally I think there is a place for 29'ers in the world, they really suit some larger taller people as well.  
What a 27.5" bike can do for a rider is let them have a whole bunch of fun with a bit more confidence and certainly that speed for free from a larger wheel size.

Its going to be a fun time and I will fill you in as I go.
This is my time so far...its day 1 in the relationship, I go home tomorrow back to Forrest and say goodbye to Demo Lust.

Here are the deets on the bike I rode, straight out of the box - http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bikes/model/lust.27.5.2/14948/66397/#specifications