SIZE="2" FACE="Arial">I bought my Patriot as the shorter travel frame only option
(5" instead of 6") just over three months ago.I’d been thinking about a
more downhill orientated bike for a long time, and seeing Steve Wade (Orange Boss)
ride a Mr XC down the Megavalance course in the Alps made me think that at last there
was a make that was properly tested before being off-loaded onto the bike buying
I already had a Pace RC37 twin crown fork and I had some good strong wheels, so what
was missing I made up from Shimano’s new Deore Groupset and away I went. The two
week wait for delivery was a nightmare! I’d not had the chance to test ride one
before (apart from 30 seconds on Bex’s at the Megavalanche) so I was scared to death
that after spending sooo much money I wouldn’t like it. Thankfully, I did; and every
time I take it out I like it more!
It could be called a heavyish free-ride play bike, or a lightweight downhill bike…it
sort of sits inbetween the two and in the end it just depends on your point of view.
I’ve had it for three months now and it’s gone everywhere with me. WIDTH="180" HEIGHT="34" ALIGN="RIGHT" BORDER="0">
Patriots climbing abilities are mixed. Short sharp ramps (eg. a ten foot flight
of steps), are dispensed of with a huge grin, and even long 20Km forest track climbs
to the top of the world are comfy if taken at a relaxed pace, (a seatpost that can
be raised or lowered makes a huge diference to the versatility of a bike), however
those tricky steep ones have you off and pushing long before your mates on their
XC bikes. On the downward bits it rules, (No, really)!
travel FSR’s with Boxxers and Sintesi Bazookas etc. haven’t outclassed the Orange
on even the most vicious of rain sodden rocky sections, despite their far longer
travel, and it is the bike, not me. It seems to be a lateral rigidity thing, or just
spot on geometry, but ‘unflustered’ is the word that comes to mind, or perhaps ‘forgiving’.
It definately eggs you on, but not in a pushy way. It’s more like a good mate who’s
always going to back you up. You go faster and faster until you do something wrong,
but it doesn’t have you off. Instead you get ’round the corner or make it through
the minefield and the bike sort of tells you, all matter of fact, "You didn’t
do that very well, now did you?" And you think, "No, I didn’t, but cheers
for helping us out."
I took my XC bike out yesterday, a rigid with short travel forks, and realised that
I’m noticably faster overall than I was three months ago. It’s like a friend said
last weekend, "You’re really enjoying your riding again, aren’t you!"