It’s day three of recovery from the nasty spill I took on my new ride, so I have had a long time to think about what I learned in my short time in the saddle. In general, I am EXTREMELY PLEASED with the Otero. The most striking difference is the raw comfort of the ride…even a relatively tame trail like Gainesville College has enough roots to rattle the fun out of a ride when you have no suspension at all. The Otero has an Suntour Epicon air sprung/oil damped rear shock which did a great job smoothing out the ride.
I ran it about at 160psi, halfway between fully damped and full rebound, and which seemed to be fine. At those settings I get plenty of bump asorbtion and I still have 40lbs of headroom if I wanted to go even stiffer. Also, the shock is connected to the rear linkage with a quick release mechanism, which allows me to slide the connecting point up and down within thelinkage, changing the amount of effective travel. I have it set up for almost the full range motion, and still didn’t experience much “pedal-bob” when climbing. Basically, everything going on with the rear section of the bike is jammin!
The brakes are a huge step up for me. They are Tektro Auriga Comp hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors, and hey stop on a dime. On my previous bike, the brakes were a major energy sap, and often my hands would actually be the sorest part of my body after a ride with a ot of hairy downhills. These new brakes require about half he effort, and give about twice the stopping power and incredible modulation/control. Being able to stop and slow down with ACCURACY is important, and not having to brake til later into a turn means a faster overall ride and maintained momentum.
The SRAM SX-5 shifters and derailluers worked fine once the guy at the shop corrected a slightly bent derailluer hanger.
On my previous bike, you could only shift one gear at a time, so it is going to take me a little while to get used to being able to shift multiple cogs with a single thumbstroke. Believe it or not, I am not hard on the gears, although I do shift a lot more than some of the folks I have ridden with. I tend to anticipate gear changes on the early side in order to not make it so hard on the equipment, and in my opinion it has been a winning strategy. I don’t expect the bike to do things outside the range of how it has been engineered and I try to work withing a shifting systems performance parameters. Of course, this new system is a huge step up from what I have been using, and once I tune into it I expect it toreally shine. Having at least two high torque gears more to use than on my Talera will open fully allow me to make some clibs I have had to walk in the past
My only complaint is about the squishy SR/Suntour X1 DA forks.
Even with the preload adjustment all the way cranked, they make the front end feel like you are riding on a trampoline. I knew this prior to buying the bike since it was evident during my test ride, and my intention is to replace these forks as soon as possible with an air sprung system that I can tune for my weight. For the time being though, they will be fine.
One interesting thing I have noticed regarding the fork problem, is that fork manufacturers seem to have a zillion different models of fork, all of which seem to be available NOWHERE. After picking out a few models I thought might suit my needs, I dove into the mail order shops and could find only one of my choices. It’s almost like the fork manufacturers don’t want to make it easy for you to find specific models so that you HAVE to buy a bike that they come on as original equipment. I could be wrong about this though, because I am aware that I am shopping at a time where the model years are changing, so maybe in a month or so, the full product ranges will start popping up at the mail order houses. Truthfully, I’d rather order them through an independent shop than through the mailorder joint so long as they could do it for around the same price…I just need to find out which shop can get which forks for me. So far I’m leaning towards Marzocchi brand, since they sem to have a few models that offer air adjustment that are somewhat affordable.