Our proximity to Hoo-Koo-E-Koo exacts a quota for mountain bikes. Sure, maybe we’re known for putting out badass road bikes, but sometimes those big tires and suspension forks are exciting enough, especially when they feature high technology and lightweight race components.
A few months ago we were sweating it, worried we may not meet that demand from on-high, when suddenly there was a clearing of the clouds. A gang of four, as it were, were in need of a pack of bikes. They had plans to descend into the fray that is the Tahoe Trail 100k MTB race. Their plans required new whips and suddenly our quota was that much closer to being met—the mountain gods will be appeased.
As far as cross-country mountain bike racing goes, our go-to has reliably been the Open One+. Light and nimble, close to perfection (and very likely the piece of the puzzle that, for me personally, will bring me over the edge into riding dirt with suspension and fat knobs).
One of the coolest features of these One+’s is its virtual “blank canvas” affording the ability to customize whatever ride and component features your cool switchblade-wielding, finger-snapping, street-gang heart desires. Are you ready to rumble? The Gramercy Riffs and the Saracens think you are; and like any brawl you enter, you’d better know how to identify your comrades!
Ronny G & the Boys headed into this Tahoe dust-up with their own individual, yet similarly spec’ed XC bikes—no one needed coordinating bandanas to find their squad member. Same frame, same fork, same groupset, virtually the same cockpit, and wheels. Each decked out with custom built wheels, stacked with all the Plus & Boost features currently on hand: Alto CMX275 Boost+ rims, CX-Ray’d to Chris King ISO Ceramic hubs. A mango centerpiece is befitting this gang’s leader!
A few of this proud posse even entered the skirmish with boldly bright colored grip choices—fearing not the dust and grime stains that would surely accumulate. The ESI grip choice is one for comfort capping off the selection of ENVE’s new M6 bars. One of these band of brothers may be the micro-adjuster in terms of fit, by opting for the slightest of variations with the older ENVE SWP bar. Everyone was good with the new M6 Mountain stem and the not-exactly-matched ENVE seat post.
With touch-points and frame taken care of, we recommended SRAM’s Eagle drivetrain for shifting and transmission—cue bird of prey screech here—abundant gear range and an ease of use unrivaled in our opinion. Proper ceramic augmentation imperative, our friends in Denmark helped out by lowering the friction & resistance in jockey wheels and bottom bracket. (The DUB upgrade will have to come later while CeramicSpeed catches up to this sudden new bottom bracket standard).
Braking controlled and steady in a Level & Ultimate way. SRAM’s Bleeding Edge technology is a treat to work with on this side of the work stand. More of that trail control was managed by the buoyant Thunder Burts on three of the four bikes while the fourth opted for a slightly more aggressive tread: Rocket Ron. Everyone sealed up with our favorite juice and valves by Orange Seal (those valve collars really paired up well with Ronny the ringleader).
Super-light suspension control is superbly handled by SID, whether you’re a Shark, Jet, Scorpion, or a Warrior, you’ll be ready to come out to play with this World Cup fork’s DebonAir and Charger features.
At a Leadville qualifier for a maiden voyage, these roughnecks made the cut on their AC built Open One+’s.
While we at Above Category are frequently seen as a strict road bike shop, that’s not exactly true; we’re happy to put a lightweight mountain bike under you and your horde of hoodlums.