This afternoon I took out the Cannondale M600, or what you might call the afternoon if it wasn’t the shortest day of the year. The ride was a bit surprising actually, I built this bike up to see if I liked single speeding but that wasn’t the thing I noticed most today.
The thing I noticed most was the complete lack of any suspension, maybe if it was a 29er or had a suspension fork but 26in wheels and no suspension fork makes the bike far too harsh for me. Most people say it can take up to six months to adjust to riding a hardtail or rigid bike after a few years on full suspension but that’s too long for someone with a healthy dose of impatience like me and I can tell you my Giant felt like a hovercraft after that. The actual singlespeed setup was fine though, I’d have to get off and walk on a lot of climbs on the north and south Downs but closer to home it’s a bit flatter. I had to stand up to get the bike up some of the hills like the one up to Itchingfield which is a road climb and the one I usually test myself or the bike on. To get the bike up that hill I usually aim for gear 5 on the Alfine, gear 2 & 5 on a normal setup and 3 & 5 if I stand up, not really sure how that equates to the M600 which is two sizes too small for me and has a 22/18t combo but it’s interesting nevertheless. I definitely need to get some wider bars, sort out the crunching I’m getting from the freewheel and stop the wheel from pulling sideways and rubbing the chainstay. As I’ve said before, these tires suck, the Toro’s on the Giant slide predictably and only in minute amounts, these slide a long way and not predictably, although a muddy day, it was pretty dry so not impressive, they clear mud exceptionally well though.
The rusty Phil Wood hubs and Araya rims feel pretty solid and smooth and the extra volume on the tires has its benefits. They certainly do look big…
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