As I’ve mentioned before, one of my bikes is a Trek mountain bike. I rode it some the year I got it, but never really took to it. It’s a pretty nice bike – a Trek 4900, which is an entry-level hardtail. The term “hardtail,” means it has no rear suspension.
It does have a front suspension fork, which makes for an interesting feeling when you jam down on the pedals, or try to stop fast. The bike noses down. The suspension is supposed to smooth out the bumps on off-road riding. But I never ride it off road.
Recently, before I got the new Specialized, the Raleigh was in the shop for some work. The Trek was the only option I had for my weekend ride, so I figured I’d take it out to the Veloway.
One problem I encountered right away was the front derailleur. It wouldn’t shift onto the large chainring. I fiddled with the adjustment screws, but couldn’t get it to go. I decided to take it out anyway, and pedal easy.
It turned out not to be too bad. The knobby tires do take away some of your potential speed, but otherwise, the bike responded well, and I seemed to make good time. When I got to the Veloway, I decided to see just how fast I could get the bike to go, especially since I didn’t have the large chainring to shift to.
A young woman on a Giant road bike passed me right after I entered the track. I spun easily, sipping from my water bottle, and enjoyed the ride. When we hit the first fast patch of road, I zipped by her. It turned out she was new at biking, because her boyfriend in team bike clothes and a high-end road bike was waiting for her farther up. He looked at me as I shot past, and then turned his attention back to her.
I took the two hairpins as fast as I dared, and passed a couple of other mountain bikes in the process. But I also got passed by some road bikes, who sailed by easily, with seemingly little effort.
Still, it was a good ride. The Trek doesn’t have a cyclocomputer, but I wore a stopwatch, and I was only three minutes slower for the route than I normally was on the Raleigh. Average speed was about 15 mph.
The Trek will probably stay around for awhile as a backup bike. If I decide to keep it, I’ll have the derailleurs set right, and get some slick city tires for it. Some of my biking acquaintances have both road and mountain bikes, and do regular trail rides, but that just doesn’t appeal to me. As a backup, the Trek will do fine. But I had a ride on Mopac last night on the new Specialized, and my average speed over 13 miles was more than 17 mph. With considerably less effort than either the old Raleigh or the Trek. If you live in the Austin area, and are interested in a mountain bike, I might consider your offer.