First, a little spam here cause it's well earned/deserved! I was just looking at this bike's value and damn it's pretty good. For $2500, you get a 1050 grams Carbon frame, mostly XT drivetrain, DT Swiss wheels, Avid Elixir 5S disc brakes, and Shim 520 pedals. The bike weighted a little more than advertised but still a very respectable 24 pounds 2 ounces (w/ pedals, no water bottle cage).
Other entry CARBON bikes (these are the lowest cost carbon bikes from other manufacturers) are: Specialized is $2900, and the parts are not as good; at Trek, an entry carbon Superfly will set you back $2800 again w/ lesser parts; the entry carbon level Marin, $2999! A Felt, $2800 (w/ sram x7); Santa Cruz Highball, starting at $3100; Cannondale Flash 29er 3, $3000 (though the shifters are xt instead of slx). The only other bike I could find w/in the same price range was the Giant XTC Composite 29er 1 which retails for $2500 but the parts are really lacking (Sram X7 and Elixir 1 brakes).
So that Scale Expert 29er is really the best deal you can find around for a new bike!!
On to the ride:
My second ride on dirt w/ this bike was at the nemba fun ride at Arcadia. I was really looking forward to this as Arcadia can get pretty challenging with it's rocky terrain. I had my tire pressure figured out this time and was running w/ tubes, 24 psi. By feel I could have probably dropped one or two psi more, but since this was Arcadia, I did not want to risk anything. I rode w/ a small group of very good riders: Fast Freddy, Craig M, Dan, and Mike Merlin. It took me a couple of miles to settle into the bike, especially since I still had those un-expected endos on my mind from my first ride. I was not necessarily afraid i was going to endo, but rather was more acutely aware of not knowing this bikes "tipping" points. It had been raining before and as I got ready to go, a short but intense deluge covered the area.
Though I dabbed unnecessarily on a couple of wet roots and on an easy climb through some rocks, I could tell the bike was much more comfortable with the right air pressure and also much less over-reactive to the trail. It was rolling easily over the terrain and the rear was not hanging up as much. I was still somewhat struggling w/ getting the timing of lifting the front end over logs but it was getting better. Since the terrain was wet, I was noticing how much more traction I had through turns and climbs. I was able to easily reach the top of a couple of small steep hills I would have washed out on on the Epic. The grip was so good, I didn't even really need to worry about balancing my weight on the bike. I just stood up, mashed the pedals, and up I went!
Overall I had a really good time on the bike and there were no major complaints like I had on my first ride. The ride was very different though from the first one in that the pace was much more mellow and we ended having to walk some of the more challenging terrain since everything was so slick. Going up Mt Tom I went down, leaving the bike w/ a small scratch on the top tube (from my toe spike), and w/ a usable bent brake lever in a U shape. It wasn't a hard fall or the bikes fault. I was following someone closely up a slick rock wall when he came to stop. I too had to stop, and the moment I put my foot down, both my foot and the rear tire slid out from underneath me and down I went. When I got home I was able to bend the lever back w/out braking it. (Freddie went down on the other side of Mt Tom but that was because he was crazy enough to try a techy rocky decent that was slick as ice. He drew blood and busted his brake lever as well!).
The ride ended up being about 14 miles and I felt that I was getting much more comfortable w/ the bike as the ride progressed. I think not trying to ride it at race pace allowed me to explore the change in a more relaxed and less urgent fashion. One thing I don't like is the lower BB since I was hitting rocks w/ the pedal constantly. The new two day old pedals look like they are six months old already. So much for listing them "as new" on ebay! So ride two was much better in that it seemed more comfortable and stable. I still need to find it's sweet spot over technical terrain though.
Next ride I'll publish is about the race I just did at Treasure Valley, which was far from successful. Some of that was my own damn fault and I am still trying to figure out all of the things that went wrong!