"This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, drink in hand
Lost my discretion
It's not what, I'm used to
Just wanna try you on
I'm curious for you
Caught my attention"
I rode a carbon bike and I liked it.
The feel of her stiff frame under my legs
I rode a carbon bike just to try it
I hope my steel bike don't mind
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
I rode a carbon bike and I liked it
I liked it
Yes, I have gone to the darkside. No, I have never, ever ridden a carbon bike before. Like ever. Of any kind. I have been on steel from day one. Bridgestone to Bontrager to Sycip to Zanconato. My ONLY divergence has been to Aluminum (Rock Lobster and Zank) and Ti (WTB and Seven) Holy shit I have had some sick bikes. But I have become curious. I wouldn't even say its about weight. Although for a cross racing bike that becomes an issue. Its more about being curious about what a modern carbon bike would be like. So perhaps its time for a bike version of My Drunk Kitchen to come to life. Call it my Drunk Bike Tests p/b Dale's. I won't necessarily be doing the tests drunk although I am not opposed to that. But the reviews themselves will be a hot mess. This may finally launch my career into the bike industry stratosphere I can feel it!
This test basically came to be after "The Bike That Shall Never be Mentioned" died. Or more like cracked. Who knows what the technical term is. In any case I, who LIVE for CX was without an actual CX bike. Frankly, I was pretty much done with canti CX bikes anyway. I had ridden the Ronde on my Zank 29er, the Lion of Burlington on my Zank 29er and countless mixed terrain rides on the 29er. I have no time for a bike that won't stop in the woods. Zero. I have no patience for having to finesse a bony descent or pick my way over roots because cantilevers do not stop. Its ridiculous. I guess there are people out there who make do but why? Why would you settle when there is the actual technology to ride aggressively on mixed terrain?
So my good buddy David Deitch at Landry's offered me his Boone. Wow. DD is amazing. Not gonna lie. He and I share an odd bond through the destruction of very expensive bikes and bike parts. I am rough on equipment but he is like Shiva the Destroyer. I have seen him destroy tires in less than time than it would take you to mount them on your wheels.
So while in most cases I would be reluctant to borrow a friends bike in fear of breaking it or dinging it I knew DD would understand. Or at least not go full Terry Tate on me. I honestly don't know anything about the bike. It has an elastomer doohickey that is in between the seatmast and TT. You maybe can see already why I have never made it as a test editor at one of the big bike mags. I use words like doohickey and admit I don't know jack about the bike. I do know that engineers at Trek know jack and I trust that they know more about Jack than I do. So anyway you get what I am cooking. Super highly engineered CX killing machine. Katie Fucking Compton Geometry. What more do you need to know? It is pretty I will say that. So DD being a buyer at one of the coolest bike dealers in the country had some neat little Deitch modifications. Specialized tubeless mullet. I was suspicious of this at first. Tracer rear and Terra Pro front. The Terra Pro looks like a mud 2 which I approve of. But the Tracer looks a bit like a small block 8. That made me a tad nervous.
It was mainly a Rival group but had sweet TRP High Road disc brakes. Again I am not an engineer. I am a highly excitable hobbyist who lives for riding bikes. Its a mechanical hydro set up. It works with regular mechanical levers but has a hydro reservoir so the pads automatically adjust for wear. My only experience on disc brakes on a CX bike has been with Shimano Di2. Those are the benchmark from what all other disc brakes should be judged. The Shimano road/cx hydros are the best brakes on the market. True one finger braking and more power than you could ever need.
It had been a while since I had been on a SRAM bike but I always liked the ergonomics of the levers and the solid shift action of the double tap. I won't lie the first couple of miles my finger would try and use the brake lever to shift. And then I would just be like come one dude what is this a drunk bike review? Oh never mind. I am a professional. That is my story and I am sticking to it! A quick position check in the HUP SSC (aka my garage) unveiled some interesting things about the bike. Like I said earlier it has a seat mast and what Trek terms an IsoSpeed "decoupler". Basically it isolates the top tube from the seat tube with a mechanical pivot to soak up bumps and rough terrain. In the spirit of My Drunk Bike Test I didn't know this was a part of the bike before riding it. I was more into the big carbon tubes and sweet paint scheme. And fairly worried I would assplode Deitch's bike and he would come after me with a baseball bat.
My biggest concern with the bike was the saddle to be honest. It looks a bit like an ass hatchet. I have used the same Selle Italia SLR for years. Not the actual same saddle. I destroy saddles at an alarming rate. But the saddle was very comfortable. Like probably the most comfortable saddle I have ridden. I would seriously swap out this saddle with an SLR on my own personal bikes it was that nice. I had a bit of a loop in mind. We have been on a mission to put together something we call "The Hell of the South" Its basically a 40-50 mixed terrain ride. Its pretty much mountain bike trails. But friends and I ride it on CX bikes. But having a bike (FINALLY!) with tubeless tires and disc brakes got me very fired up. There is a strava segment on the loop that is just a nasty little gravel climb. I didn't have high hopes of getting the KOM just was looking forward to how I could handle it on this bike. That all pretty much went out of my mind the second I turned into NTF. The Boone has a pretty long headtube for its size. The bike I was riding was a 52. But this allowed some serious riding in the drops. The bike was so fun on the burly trails. I am not gonna say it was as good as my mountain bike but it was close. At least on the fireroads. No I would not take it on the rock gardens or technical stuff. But I rode some rocks and dropped into a few chutes.
It is weird looking back on the ride. Now that I know it had a damper it makes sense. I just assumed the great handling was the KFC geometry and the tubeless set up. But this bike seriously eliminates any need for a "Gravel" bike. I mean I have ridden "Gravel" bikes. They tend to be slow and don't climb that well. This bike had everything you want in a CX bike but just railed the downhills and soaked up a ton of the nasty stuff. My back has been a wreck all season. I didn't even realize it till I was home but my back never even gave me one complaint the whole ride. Ok so yes, I KOM'd Wilson Climb. It won't stand. Pete and Matt are waaaayyyy faster than I am. I don't know Rob. I assume he is very fast as well. Frankly once Will Crissman or Parsons sniffs this out its over. But I did it. Is it because of the Boone? I think so. Like I said the climb is gravel with some water bars. You can't really stand to climb as you will lose traction I was able to stay seated and drive the whole way up. The bike didn't even "feel" like a fast climber but Strava doesn't lie.
I love this bike. I joked that Deitch is never getting it back. I may have to just dump one of the kids 529s into his paypal. I hear MassBay is a great school. The term #Boonehugs was coined by the Legend Jon Suzuki. Look for more My Drunk Bike Tests in the future!