South of the Mason Dixon, in Gilmer county Georgia, at a beautiful Sliding Rock cabin near Ellijay – I’m reminiscing on a couple fantastic days at the Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Get-A-Way. I’ve been very fortunate the past few days because I’ve met some fantastic people, done some amazing rides and have gotten to put a new Felt NINE Race to the test.
The Race is part of Felt’s Nine series. Nine meaning, 29er. Not that they have several lives. Well actually, the company kinda does. Felt, you might know, sponsors some well-known race teams like Garmin-Slipstream. The brand was re-launched in 2001 and the new Felt wanted to expand outside of road and tri bikes. They now offer urban commuters and cruisers, full squish and hardtail mountain bikes as well as their respected road and tri bikes.
Here’s how my 21.5″ Nine Race looks on paper:
- HT: 72
- SA: 73
- TT (H): 640
- TT: 612
- SO: 839
- Double -butted 6061 AL
- Rock Shox Reba Race Dual Air 29, 80mm
- All XT, tip to tail.
- WTB Lazer Disc Trail rims
Here’s what some riding in northern Georgia looks like:
The Nine Race has so far taken whatever Georgia has thrown at it. The XL hardtail helped me keep a few in sight while group suffering on back to back epic rides. After getting the bike set up at Ray’s Indoor MTB Park in Cleveland, my true introduction to Felt’s dirtier side was our first real ride of the season. An epic 27 mile, 4600 ft. of climbing, singletrack and fireroad tour of mountain trails near our Mulberry Gap camp. With so little time on the bike prior to our trip south, I have been very happy with how the Felt, well, felt. The geometry hasn’t taken much time to get used to. Luckily so, because our second day wasn’t any easier. 34 miles and 6100 ft. of climbing put us on top of several Georgia mountains as we traversed rocky ridge trails. So far the 80mm Reba and 29in. wheels have allowed me to descend as quickly as I’d like and the XT components have proven to be reliable. The 180mm front rotor was a welcomed feature in a few situations. The fast rolling WTB Vulpines have impressed me and several others we rode with. These low rolling resistance tires have been biting the sandstone and roots giving me no excuses other than my lack of fitness for clearing a climb.
For more on the Felt Nine Race check out issue #149.