I realize that you probably don’t come here to hear me gush about whatever bell or whistle might be coming down the pipe of bikecycle technologies. Most likely you would stick to your MTBR forums or whatnot, where you could hash out the details of the utterly useless with the desperately ignorant;“Well, personally I can tell you a thing or two about Paul Components based on what I’ve read… I also feel as though the idea behind a 69er makes far more sense than that of a 29er for the eighteen following reasons…”
However occasionally I find myself in a position to possibly test a widget, or try out a googah in exchange for some thoughts about it on this here bicycle and bicycle related action sports webbing site. Most recently I took delivery of an Origin 8 Paladin.
Why, you might have even seen photos of it after I had built it on the AHTBM Book of Faces® page. Wouldn’t you know that as I tightened the final bolt, stacks and rows of rain clouds came in and left me soggy and looking out the window searching for a break. As fate would have it, that break finally came and I was able to embark on the new beast for a humdinger of a ride on Tuesday.
I will, for your consideration, offer you some thoughts on that experience now.
My chosen ride began literally from of my front door, with an immediate five miles of climbing. Not having had a moment of time on this bike, I began looking for trouble spots but so far so good. I’d say the top tube is a bit shorter than what I’m used to if I’d actually taken the time to measure it. Standing on a climb I felt a bit out in the wind, as it were, but it had no discernible effect on the steering. As a matter of fact, that is one point I can make without pause. Whatever angles they use results in this bike climbing like a goat. Even up the most snot-slick, heinous and grueling climb on my loop, it went where I pointed, the tires both locked to the ground. After muddying it up for a bit, I took some photos, because after all, what is a bike ride if every aspect of it isn’t documented for the internet?I swapped out the stock saddle with one of mine, added the poo-butt defender, and the cages. Otherwise, what you see is what you get.Oh, I also made the addition from my own stash of AHTBM brand chainstay protectors. For $39.99, Ill be happy to send you one of your own.At one point, I leaned my bike against a tree and stood high atop the saddle looking to the Northwest. From there I could see Russia, so I renamed my bike in recognition of this feat.
When bouncing some texts back and fourth with the Bike Snob on the topic of bike reviews, he said I need to mention that it soaks up the trail buzz and also use the phrase ‘point and shoot’ in regard to the fork. Now that I have used both of those, I will continue.
The fork is indeed a thing of beauty. With blown out wrists and tired shoulders (the weight of the world becomes a bit much sometimes), I was apprehensive about riding a rigid fork again. I had for many years until the day that I realized I would never be as tough as my rigid fork riding compatriots, and at the end of the day I really wasn’t doing myself any favors. Once I got a suspinchkin fork, I never looked back. On this first outing however, I rallied down the chutes, and blasted through the corners with the enthusiasm of a much younger me. That said, I still can’t help but always wonder when the fat lady is going to sing and leave me as a star subject on Busted Carbon.
As a whole, I was impressed with the geometry and the fit. As a life-long proponent of steel, I spent a fair amount of time noticing the subtle nuances of the crabon and trying to put my finger on just exactly what felt different between that and my more metal bikes.
At the risk of borrowing from such dead horse phrases like ‘lively’ and ‘resilient’, I feel that is exactly what steel offers that carbon and even in some cases aluminum do not. While I very much enjoyed riding this bike, and taking every attempt to prove my point that it is a substandard material, I still couldn’t help but wear a smile on my face;
With all of the cudos on the table, I will make one mention of a thing which nearly caused me to ghost ride it into the abyss. The parts selection was mid to upper range with SRAM X-9, Shimano XT and Origin 8 bits and pieces all around, and at least with this first ride, all worked flawlessly. That is with the exception of the stock Clarks Skeletal hydraulic brakes, the levers of which sounded like a selection of Mardi Gras beads strung loosely around my handlebars;
Besides that, the term ‘brake fade’ finally came clear to me when at a near vertical junction between ‘oh shit’ and ‘I should have updated my will’, they simple stopped doing any stopping whatsoever. Luckily for me and the well being of my fleshy parts, at the last minute I found a run away truck ramp which I used to finally gain control of the situation. At that point I wouldn’t have even used the brakes to fill a trash can, but then again, I am used to my Shimanos which from my perspective are second to none.
Certainly if you are in the market for a reasonably affordable, and rip-ready carbon bike, I’d say take a look-see at what Origin 8 has to offer. I would like to thank them for temporarily loaning me this horse, and I look forward to a few more outings on it before their repo man comes and takes it away.
At this point, let’s get on to a bit of the mail bag.
From family and occasional non-family photographer Peter, I got a long over due shout regarding whatever was happening in his head when he emailed me;
been a while, but have been checking in on the market pretty frequently.
Anyway, I was trying to think of something that could represent the apocalypse well in an email addressing the potential teammates for Porkchop Sandwiches. A team that has put fear in the heart of 1 perhaps 2 people, a team that has chosen to simultaneously under and over achieve at grassroots races typically north of the mason dixon line, and who has singlehandedly come in both 1st and last in every 3-4 person Singlespeed category edition of 12 hrs of Weaverville in that last 6 years. The first thing that came to my mind was this 4 horsemen;
Made me remember those dirtbag days in the 80’s when they rocked and I sucked at skating, but it was awesome. too bad the attached is the current incarnation of the front man.”
When in Sunday school as a young boy, no one ever told me the apocalypse would arrive wearing bermuda shorts and flip slops.
At this point, I will go ahead and re-remind any and all who have interest that Velo Cult is poised to have a humdinger of a throw down this weekend, at which I will be present;
I should also mention that I will be returning to my home on Monday afternoon, presumably with a hangover intact.
You can either attend said social engagement and enjoy yourself, or if that’s not geographically feasible, wait until I get back and read about what I can remember on Wednesday.