As you may have read in the previous post, Kristy and I traded bikes yesterday. I was able to get a full 10 miles on her Womens Specific Design Specialized Stumpjumper FSR.
Kristy's bike is just a hair small for me, but is still big enough for me to ride it comfortably. Since we had a few road miles to get to the trail, the first thing I did was lockout both ends of the bike. The rear lockout definitely felt firm, but not like a hardtail. You can still feel a little movement.
When we got to the trail, I put the rear shock in pro-pedal mode, and unlocked the fork. The first section of the V&T RR Grade has some rocky sections, so it was a good test of the suspension. Both ends of the bike have five inches of plush travel, and allowed me to keep pedaling hard through the rough stuff. My five inch travel freeride bike (Kona Coiler) has much firmer suspension, and isn't near this comfortable in the slow stuff.
Another cool thing about the bike was the center of gravity. Even though it has the long travel suspension, I still felt like I was sitting low on the bike. It turned very quick in the tight twisty singletrack sections, unlike my Coiler that sits very tall and requires a lot of body English to do the same turn. The Stumpy is also seven pounds lighter than my Coiler. A very noticeable seven pounds! The shorter top tube, and light Fox fork made wheelies a snap. I was having fun with that all day. On the return trip, I took it over a couple double jumps. It felt easy to jump with the more upright riding position. Don't worry Kristy...I didn't case it, or taco the back rim! I stuck the landing...
So what makes this bike a WSD? A comfortable seat (I'm jealous). A shorter top tube. The color? Not so much...I wouldn't mind a bike of the same color. Skinny riser bars..24.5 inches wide to be exact. Too skinny for the frame size really. In fact, Kristy just ordered up some Race Face Atlas riser bars this morning. 27 inches wide, 1.5" rise.
Oh, and what's up with the picture you ask? That's me at the 2006 Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington. Since I was testing a WSD bike, I thought I'd show off my muliebral side!