Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Getting To Grips With Nymeria (On-One Scandal 29er)

Nymeria for those aren't up to date with my blog is my new beloved bike.  My On-One Scandal 29er.  If you are wondering on the name then it is from George Martins books the Game Of Thrones one of my favourite authors.  Nymeria itself is a pet dire wolf, and wolves are some the most interesting of beasts and to all intense and purpose so is my new bike.

This isn't a full review as I feel I'm yet to bond fully with Nymeria, like an animal it needs some taming before I think I can truly appreciate what she is really capable of.  There are three things totally different about this bike I'm having to take into account when riding compared to previous bikes.  Carbon rigid forks, 29er Wheels and Tubeless.

I've read so much about how much better 29 inch wheels are that when you start riding you expect some kind of revelation, and I didn't get that. At least not right away. In fact jumping on it felt very natural and not overly different from my kinesis, this maybe because I'd got the cockpit measurements similar.  There seemed no noticeable extra effort to get the wheels rolling as many have lead me to believe.  This maybe because overall the wheels are lighter than my previous set which weren't heavy but by buying Stans rims and running them tubeless I've managed to drop about 100 grams in weight including tyres.

So then comes the idea of them giving more stability.  I wasn't sure how this could be proved, I mean I don't ever remember stability being an issue with 26ers.  That was until I took my hands off the bars.  Riding no handed has never been a skill I've managed greatly.  Yes I could ride 100 yards and not fall off but I'd have to make loads of micro adjustments.  I'd always found my road bike easier in this case.  The 29er proved its stability to me by being so easy to ride no handed.  I barely had to try to keep it straight, it just did it and I can only imagine that this extra stability helps in singletrack and technical sections

I'm not going to comment to much on grip.  This is supposed to be a big bonus due the extra contact patch of the tyre to the ground.  The reason I'm holding back is that conditions have been very muddy and so the bike hasn't been pushed to its limits in corners. Yet. The grip is there but I'm still finding my limits.  For this reason I'm still to really see the benefit in tubeless except in weight.  More and that to come in the next few months as I find better pressures to use and learn to really rail it properly.

Every time I pushed to go fast the bike responded quickly.  The overall low weight meant this bike was like a missile.  A 21.8lbs missile.  It goes without saying that this bike climbed well and the geometry didn't seem to unsettle the front end to much.  The actual frame felt quite soft for an aluminium frame.  Some frame using this metal can be horrible and harsh. Ideal for your local races but every day long rides something that can tire you out quicker.  This felt compliant and when chucking it rough singletrack it never felt like it had longer chain stays, just wanted you to try that bit harder.  The geometry is sound not going to the extreme of being an out and out racer but a proper all day riding bike that leaves you smiling.

What I'm struggling to get to grips with is the fork.  It would be very easy for me to say its harsh but in comparison to steel forks my memory doesn't go back that far.  Through bumpy corners the front bounces up hard and does hurt your wrists.  On many occasions my hand struggled to use the brakes and stay on the grips.  This I can see is going to take the most getting used.  Perhaps even a bit of strengthening of my arms!  It does, however, in smoother parts track well and the steering is very direct so much more so than bikes with suspension forks.  It never felt nervous just a case of point and shoot.

Overall, I'm beginning to love this bike.  Its rides as well as it looks and once I'm more used to it I have no doubt about its extra capabilities.  This bike will be like lightening in the right hands.  I just need to get my fitness back and tame that fork.



Hi Jez, it's really interesting to read your first impressions, even though I have never engaged in the type of riding you do. My only thoughts on reducing the impact on your wrists is to make sure your position on the bike provides reduces your reach enough to provide some natural front suspension in your arms. Retaining the same cockpit set-up as you had with suspension forks may be the problem? But I also agree that with time your arms may become stronger and more accustomed to the new forks; what can feel really strange at first can quickly become most natural!

Hi Jez, it is a bit of a shock at first going rigid but you do get used to it and it will make you a better rider making you think more about line choice . I'd be very surprised if the forks were stiffer than steel my carbon forks felt a lot nicer than the steel one's i had. I found going tubeless more of an issue as the bike felt completely different especially in corners. I know you want it to be a race whippet but some bigger tire's with lower pressures will help for your training then stick some race tire's on when your racing. Your comments about it not being super stiff for an alu bike has surprised me so i've put it on my contenders list for my next mtb...

Thanks for the comments. I'm finding that over time I'm getting a little more used to the forks and learning to ride looser again. It's just after a couple of hours my wrists and elbows are tender.

The frame could be stiff as I get little flex so I could probably attribute its comfort to the larger wheel size.

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