Tuesday afternoon Lee was still working furiously to round up a Norco Range 650b for me to test when we got back from our Mt. Seymour rides. The Norco crew had just arrived back from I-bike the night before and had hardly unpacked but he was somehow able to tease a very scarce test bike away from them for the rest of the week……. IF I could somehow work in a 40-60 minute rush hour commute (each way) into Vancouver to pick it up the next morning.
I really, really wanted to ride the Norco and was ready to make the drive but I had an appointment to ride Squamish with Noel at 10:00 and opted to pass. Riding is always better than rush hour commuting and I’d be riding a Chilcotin with its creator that day anyway so it was kind of a no-brainer. Thanks to Norco for going out of their way to make it available to me though.
I met up with Noel at the B&B and we drove up to Squamish talking shop the whole way. I don’t pretend to have the slightest knowledge about the ins and outs of running a bike company but I’m pretty sure it’s not every day when the president and CEO can break away to go riding with a customer. I thought it was super cool of him to do it and we had a great day. His marketing philosophy is one of just letting the brand and the bike speak for itself through his dealer network and loyal customers. So even though he wasn’t interested in me doing a “bike test/review” per se, he totally wanted to just go riding and have a good time with a long-time customer. Hats off to Noel.
The riding in Squamish is similar to, but different than North Van. A little more up and down with lots of roots, slabs, and tech to keep the stoke factor high. We first climbed a fireroad to get up to the start of Angry Midget then descend on it and Pseudo Suka (?) This Chilcotin was a large and set up with the CCDB air, a 2.5 DHF dual ply Minion up front and 2.5 DHR II Minion in the rear so was a bit heavier than Sharon’s. Sizing felt a bit more spread out than I remember but I’d been on mediums all week up to this point so that may explain the difference. Pedaling efficiency was good though at first I felt off the back a bit as far as riding position goes until we realized it was set up in the slack mode. We stopped and switched it and things felt much better. Descending was as expected. It is tight, accurate, and stable though I did feel some harshness and packing up in the fork. After stopping to adjust the suspension (someone had the rebound set up really slow) it felt much better.
After my test ride on the Chilcotin in Hurricane last April I was pretty sure I’d want a large but now I’m a bit undecided. In the tighter techy stuff the large felt a bit long compared to the snappy compactness of the medium. I guess it depends on what type of riding I’ll end up doing the most. I really do seem to be in between sizes a bit on this bike but could be very happy on either one. Most of my rides are long pedally ups followed by pretty fast bombing downs so would probably still lean towards the large though.
I know Noel doesn’t need my endorsement to sell Chilcotins but this bike is very, very good.
I liked this Joystick seat. I also love the blacked out color scheme but I’m not a good enough photographer to get it to really pop, especially in this shadowed light. Take my word for it… it looks great in person.
Chromag was nicely represented in the OSX Fubars, stem, and seat collar. I love their stuff, and I love wide bars but these were really wide….. maybe a bit too wide for weaving in and out of trees like we were doing today.
I didn’t have my personal photographer with me today so didn’t take too many pictures but coaxed Noel into pointing and shooting a couple with my camera.
Squamish is still very deep and green with lots of moss. I left home without my sunscreen and was kinda stressing to pick some up, but then realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to need it.