Saturday, after a nice long morning ride, I locked myself in the garage and proceeded to dress this beauty up so I could take her out for her maiden voyage on Sunday. She came out looking pretty sweet – as pictured the bike is around 29.5 lbs.
Sunday I rode for a few hours at one of our local spots here in the Bay Area. Some of you might be familiar with Soquel Demonstration Forest – it’s got a little bit of everything, including some pretty long extended climbs/descents.
The Alpine reinforces what I’ve been preaching for years – e.g. geometry/fit is the MOST IMPORTANT thing… if a bike has a wacked up geo or doesn’t fit – nothing else matters.
This bike also made me realized how flexy my other current bikes are – I definitely appreciate the stiff back end of the Alpine. The only other trail/AM I recall owning that was remotely this stiff was a SC Nomad. During our ride we did a good amount of climbing (close to 4000 ft) and to be super honest, I was expecting a lot of pedal feedback, especially considering the fact that I use flat pedals (yeah I know, guess my opinion of SP bikes had been a bit skewed by the web naysayers). as a test I did the initial climb with Pro Pedal off… dude I was blown away by how well the bike actually pedals, even with no Pro Pedal.
I had to stop a few times to try and fine tune the shock (e.g. figure out how much air to run). I did try to set SAG before leaving, but once I got on a trail it was too soft. Kept adding air until I got short of bottoming out on hard hits (well tried to). Went up to 170psi’s but was still getting full travel (which isn’t a bad thing) – but with that pressure I started losing a bit of small bump sensitivity. But even without having the shock completely dialed in, it devoured rock gardens and rode like a mini DH bike. Just for reference, I’m about 155 – 160lbs all geared up.
It appears like the bike needs some mid stroke low speed compression to work well. But still, even with lower pressures in the shock I never felt any harsh bottoming. I still need to play with the shock a bit – it’s been a while since I’ve been on an air shock. I’ve been riding a coil shock for a few months, so I’ve been spoiled with good small bump compliance. Even time I make the switch from coil to air, takes me a few rides to get used to it. I also have a RockShox Monarch, Marzocchi Roco and RockShox Vivid at that I can try on that bike down the road.
I’m stoked with the bike so far…I’m sure once I have the shock dialed in, it will be a weapon! I have a new favorite bike in my stable. Can’t wait to log more rides on this beauty.
Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. The Alpine will teach you not to use the brakes when you’re not supposed to ;o) a few times I came into some sections a bit hot and use a bit to much rear brake – definitely not as active under braking as other bikes. But that’s just an incentive to 1) do your braking early 2) don’t brake 3) hit stuff to slow you down ;o)~~~~
Thanks to Lewis and Peter for making it happen!