XC and uphill performance
I didn’t find all that much difference in the climbing “feel” of the LT 6.1 between the short & long-travel modes so left it in the longer travel modes. I’d have to attribute that to the Rock Shox suspension. The Monarch in particular has to be one of the nicest platform shocks I have used. Like most air platform shocks it has an on-off switch for the platform – but also has a dial which allows one to dial in the amount of anti-bob/platform. This dial actually works. Couple the rear Monarch shock’s tuneability with the now -reliable two-step and platform tuning of the front suspension Lyrik Two-step and it’s now entirely possible to tune this bike so its an exceedingly capable climber.
Because the Rock Shox suspension is so good, the LT 6.1 is a pretty effective seated and standing climber, in particular in seated climbing the rear tire digs into the ground when grinding or spinning away up uphill making for exceptional traction. During standing or sprinted sections of climbing, the rear Monarch shock should definitely have platform engaged otherwise the bike will be too active, bobbing and wallowing like a pig on a string. However keep in mind that the LT 6.1 is a 32 lb bike. Do not mistake it for a World Cup glorified road course xc machine.
Another word on the Hammerschmidt. It’s a sloppy gear changer or a grinder’s dream. You can shift under the worst loads and it’ll do its job without fuss. I had the “All-Mountain” Hammerschmidt with the 22/36 gear range. Match that with a 34 tooth rear cog and you have tiny gears – you can merrily granny ring away up steep hills. The 36 tooth top Hammerschmidt gear than gives you lots of range for faster trails.
Lee Lau – Whistler
Tyler Wilkes – North Vancouver