Wow, what great rig.
Straight out of the box colour was awesome, a little bit Kermit a little minty and little lime all at once with out being sickly or eighties fluoro.
The front was a little high, but everyone is different when it comes to this I know. But that is as easy as changing the bar or stem. The frame was probably a tad small for me another inch or so on the seat tube and only half that on the top tube would have been my perfect frame size. Angles were pretty standard which made for out of the box familiarity.
Like many I have cut my teeth riding 26” wheels over the last 16 years of mountain biking but pretty well converted to the world of 29” now. My last outing on a 26er saw me getting caught up on things I would have normally hit flat out, found I was moving around the bike too much and over stepping manuals, pumps and washing corners.
So I was psyched when I got on the trail on this little beauty to find exactly what I expected, a perfectly normal bike, there was no spilt personality not a hash slow 26er and not a truckusurus 29er. She is agile, bunny hops and step ups a common thing on my rocky trails were a synch not requiring the kind of disco-esk body movement you have to pull on a 29er. Rolling off and drops were easy, in part to the up right position but also because of the compact frame and solid feel.
Landing on the bigger wheel was sweet and again the frame took it all in stride. I was dubious of the sliding drops, I have seen a few fail due to many small welds on narrow material and others warp and misalign. The Defcon dropouts were solid stayed in place and didn’t move bit. I never herd or saw any sway or warp under braking or power so 10/10 for that.
Cornering was snappy as expected, one supper snakey section of trail I did three times 1 and 3 on the 27five and the middle lap on a 26er. The differences were really impressive, this section has every kind of corner you can get on a trail and it ate them up, rolled consistently didn’t loose speed through flex or drag, stayed predictable as the corner changed camber and from rock to sand. Again the compact size meant you can quickly pick up the front to set the wheel for quick direction changes under power.
After the curves it was straight into the rock garden descent, could have been the chunky neo motos or the resilient frame but she stuck like white on rice, pushed through the dropping rocky corner without brakes that has seen me pinch flat so many times, with nothing but a want to pedal …un herd of.
Looking at the wheel sizes it seems massively different to a 29 but only marginally bigger than a 26er. In reality this means that they soak up those small bumps but and stay on top of rocks but hugs tight corners, perfect.
The build was spot on, lightweight and strong, a quality frame matched with white industries drive train, and big ups to Stu who even managed to make El Caminos feel good.
I hope the conservative Aussie market can get on board 650b, it is great, wether you get a Defcon 27five frame or throw wheels into a 26 frame, get off the fence and do it.
I am hooked, death to 26 inch wheels!