As mentioned back on Feb 3rd, I’ve started to ride off-road on single mountain bikes again and it’s been a really nice change-of-pace from road riding. As well as the Marble Peak has been performing, I got it my head that I wanted to revisit riding on a hardtail for our local trail, as it really didn’t warrant a full suspension rig. I believe this stems from still longing for our old Cannondale MT3000 hardtail tandem which was an absolute blast to ride on the less technical trails that didn’t have the big downhill sections where full suspension kept Debbie from having to make a trip to the Chiropractor after some of our Cannondale outings.
Anyway, I found a really neat early 2000’s vintage Dean Scout on Ebay and picked it up for a couple hundred bucks; a great deal in my mind for a Ti hardtail in excellent condition with I.S. disc mount — a rare find on the older Scouts. My original plan was to do a parts swap from the Ventana — including the Rock Shox SID XC 80mm suspension fork — and pull from my parts bins to keep it on the cheap. Yeah well… best laid plans. In addition to picking up a few parts off of Ebay that I used to bring the Marble Peak up to more current standards — SRAM XO twist shifters & Avid BB7 discs — I discovered that the fork steerer on the Rock Shox fork as a little too short for the unusually tall head tube on the Dean. So, back to Ebay where I found a new Manitou S7 fork for about 1/2 price.
Don’t get me wrong, the Marble Peak is a great-handling bike that really does a great job of soaking up the big bumps on aggressive single track where there’s lots of elevation changes and descents over rock gardens, roots and the like. But being back on the hard tail, and a pretty lightweight one at that — 25lbs ready to ride — really makes for different riding experience. It felt more nimble and as you’d expect a bit more solid with the fixed rear-triangle. The new suspension fork technology was also a nice addition in that it’s very easy to change the fork’s travel on the fly with just a flick of an easy to reach tabbed knob on the top of the right fork crown.
And yes… the blue decals are gone. When I thought I’d be able to use the Rock Shox SID fork from the Marble Peak on the Dean I figured I just leave the blue decals on the bike, even though they were a little worn. But, once the black fork went on the frame the blue decals had to go. There’s a new set of simple black letter decals on their way from Ionic/Dean Cycles that will make the Scout look very much like its road bike sibling, my ’98 Castanza which also features a rear mono-stay.
Sadly, the Marble Peak is hanging from a couple of hooks in the garage at the moment. If I find that I’m going to stick with adding mountain bike riding back into my regular cycling diet I may pick up some cranks, shifters, bar/stem and brake levers so that I can have it ready to ride with a quick wheel-swap from the Dean. There are some trails around here where the rear suspension would be a welcome companion! And, after all… variety is the spice of life! Can you have too many bicycles? I think not!