Living with the Pace…a riders review

3 04 2009

Around this time last year I posted a fair bit on the Muddy@rse forum about my quest for a new bike. For those of you who weren’t around then (a year being a long time) you can relive my bike tests here.. (insert link).

 

The result of said tests was the purchase of a Pace 405XC full suspension bike. Quite an expensive bike actually – certainly the most expensive bike I’d bought.

 

So, after a year of riding the thing, how has it been? Did it prove to be worth all the wonga?

nice bike, nice hills...

nice bike, nice hills...

 

To start with a quick rundown of the riding highlights of the last year.

 

The Pace and I have:-

 

·        Hooned it down the trails of the Surrey Hills (particularly fast down Barry Knows Best, and the bike hardly batted an eyebrow at the very steep Deliverance)

 

·        Been on a Jumps and Drops skills training course at Cannock Chase (gulp!)

 

·        Enjoyed the arcade games that are the South Wales trail centres   – whoo hoo!

 

·        Spent all day getting dehydrated on the South Downs on a very hot 60km epic

 

·        Ridden down (and up) real mountains in Austria, some of the most technical riding I’d ever done.

 

·        Sploshed and slurped through all manner of muddy slop in Mid wales in November

 

fresh air !

fresh air !

Looking back that’s a good variety of riding – there’s also been any number of chilled out Sunday pootles, last months M@ longer faster ride and local night rides.

 

I’ve been very surprised by how capable the bike is. I often have had a sense that the bike is able to do much, much more than I want to.  The times when I have got the guts to go for it and do a substantial jump, or slither down a greasy rocky drop, the bike seems to be so composed, and hardly misses a beat. I expect to be in all sorts of trouble, yet the reality is a real non event. Without a doubt my skill and bottle are the limiting factor – the bike can cope with a lot, lot more than I can dish out.

 

The second trait worthy of mention is the increased comfort that 140mm inches of travel gives, especially in the posterior. On long rides I do finish pretty fresh, albeit having tired legs! A lot of the time unless I’m going quick the bike is simply too much for my local trails. As if it’s making everything too easy. It is actually possible to go for a ride and come back feeling a bit.. well .. cheated. It’s a mountain bike ride for god’s sake and there’s meant to be some bashing about and a need to choose your line with some care. A bike like this does not need line choice on the trails of Surrey. Any line is a good line! If I make a mistake and find myself heading for a rock at the side of trail, I can simply relax and the bike with pummel its way through, no bother.

 

Whilst we’re on the less positive theme, I have to say that the medium size I bought is quite a big bike. I don’t notice it when riding, but if there’s walking involved, or lots of on-offing, then the size is noticeable. This does mean its very stable at speed, but I suspect my centre of gravity is pretty high as a result. I have had a few crashes (including one or two comedy over-the-bars moments), and I suspect the height has contributed to that.

 

When I bought the bike I wanted a bike I’d grow into. Something I wouldn’t get bored with and find the limits of quickly. That’s just what I’ve got. Before every ride I’m looking forward to swinging a leg over the white paintwork, and during every ride I’m grinning like a loon after only a few miles. I’m nowhere near getting the best from it yet.

 

Overall I wanted a bike I’d call my “hooligan” bike. Something that wants to misbehave all the time. Start a fight just for a laugh. The Pace 405 absolutely is that bike. We have plenty more misbehaving adventures to come…Rich F

I think he likes it :-)

I think he likes it 🙂

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