The two things I enjoyed most about the Bicycle Garage/Merida Bikes demo day were watching other people (re)discover mountain biking and getting to ride types of bikes I’ve heard about, but never experienced. On the new experience front, the stand out for me was the new Merida 29er, the “Twenty-nine Lite 1000-D”. Being 5’4″ I’ve never been too interested in the clown wheel hype that’s going around (I feel like my 26″ wheels are clown-like compared to my stature in any case). What surprised me was how nicely balanced this bike felt. The way it glided through singletrack like a boat through water made me see why people are enjoying the ride experiences these bikes offer. The Shimano SLX-ish build felt solid and reliable to use and the Rock Shox Recon forks soaked up the trail nicely. While this spec is not top technology by today’s race weenie standards, the way technology has trickled down to this mid-range spec over the years makes a bike at this level a much nicer experience than it would have been 5 – 10 years ago. And given the cost of replacement parts to a nice race steed after a wet ride or some ambitious crashes, I can’t help but think what a great second bike something like this would be.
All in all, the demo day re-affirmed my love for all things riding (like I needed any help with that) and it was a great, fun way for people to feel what sort of set up suits their riding best, rather than just wonder about it. If you get the chance to do something similar, get stuck into it!
Thanks to the Bicycle Garage and Merida Bikes for making this day happen, it’s another example of how a good local bike shop really can make your local neighbourhood an even more fun place to live!