Stromlo Enduro

My new Slash seems like a great bike to use. But it isn’t. The Slash is a proper Enduro bike, with a long wheelbase and lots of travel. But Stromlo is neither very technical nor very steep, so the Slash isn’t actually at home.
I am faster on most of the tracks on my single speed hardtail than the Slash.

So I turned to my XC bike. The Superfly. It is getting a bit old, however, and the old-school narrow bars are doing me no favours when it comes to descending. The long stem isn’t fantastic either. So for the race I put a 50 mm stem on it (it is too short but it is what was around the house) and some DH bars with a 750 mm width (the already upgraded once bars on the bike are 680 mm wide). While I was at it, I tossed on my Enduro pedals too (Mallet DH).
I was already running a decent knobby front tyre and a dropper post, so those didn’t have to be changed.

I really notice the short stem when climbing. I can still climb the steepest stuff at Stromlo (like the Casuarina Climb) but it is a bit more difficult. The wider bars and shorter stem really help keep the bike under control on the descent. It really is no Slash on the rough stuff, but it rolls quickly and is fast on the climbing portions. On my practice runs there is a few seconds of difference between the two in favour of the ‘fly.

On this bike I am running an expanded range cassette - the 15 and 17 T sprockets are removed and replaced with a 16 T and a 42 T. On the descents here the big jump between the 16 T and the 13 T is really obvious. Sixteen too small. Thirteen too large. It is my biggest complaint about expanded range cassettes in general.

If the XC weight tyres can survive one more visit to these trails then I’ll probably get through tomorrow without any gear issues (they’ve made it across all the tracks a couple of times so far).