Nathan Swanson captured me Saturday at the midpoint of our ride. At this point I was super stoked. My setup was progressing nicely and I was riding the bike with awesome confidence.
This shot highlights the primary changes I made to the bike, which were to add a 1-inch Bontrager rise bar I had in the parts bin (and a sweet Salsa Pro Moto Ti stem while I was at it) to get my fit dialed in, and a more aggressive Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.25 front tire instead of the stock Maxxis Crossmark 2.1.
This left side shot shows the Anthem X-29s Maestro dual-link rear suspension design, which when paired with the Fox RP-23 Boost Valve rear damper, offers very efficient, responsive pedaling and seamless bump absorption. It's also notably a very laterally stiff frame, and its stiffness allows for a very high degree of feedback to be transmitted from the tires' knobs to the grips. It's almost unnerving to experience at first the sensation of knobs breaking free from the earth when felt through the grips. But once you become accustomed to the bike, you realize it's a very responsive and empowering bicycle to choose. I feel fortunate to be able to race one this season!
The 10-speed Shimano Deore XT DynaSys components are excellent performers overall. I particularly like the 42t big ring, which allows me to stay in "the ring" more of the time relative to the old-school 44t (a good thing for me).
Part of the bike's awesome stiffness is courtesy of the tapered 1 1/2-inch-to-1 1/8-inch headtube, with its matching Fox F29 FIT RLC fork. I feel really fortunate to be able to ride these awesome, top-of-the-line components, which I should add, has been made possible this season by Cycle Works in Lincoln, Neb. If you've never been in to see their awesome Lincoln stores, you owe it to yourself to check 'em out.