After B’s soccer match on Saturday I stuffed my ever-expanding body into my ever shrinking kit and headed out for a quick 25 mile ride before dinner. As I rolled along dirt roads in the crisp air that qualifies for spring in Michigan I realized that I had ridden right through the Boone’s 1 year birthday last month without any acknowledgement whatsoever. I believe we were moving that day, so I guess I have an excuse. However I hope to make up for all that here today.
Before I get too far into this post I will say the following:
- The Boone is a cyclocross race bike.
- I don’t race cross.
- The Boone is not a marketed dirt and gravel road bike.
- I do ride dirt and gravel roads. Lots.
OK, since this is in NO way a review, I’ll just cut to the chase and say that the Boone 5 Disc might be the best bike I’ve ever had. The carbon frame is sweet, the disc brakes are great, (even the mechanical ones I have), the isospeed decoupler helps smooth out the rough gravel and dirt road chatter, and it looks damn nice. But none of those things make the Boone a great bike. What does? Simply put, it’s the one bike that I have ridden the living shit out of over the past year.
The Fatterson, the Superfly, and the too new to know how good it really is PrOcal, have combined to log several hundred miles over the past year. However in just a little of a year the Boone has logged thousands of dirt, gravel, and paved road miles. Like they say (or I say) “the best bike you own is the one you ride the most.” If you’re not riding it, it’s just two wheels and a frame taking up space in your garage.
Over the past year I have used three different sets of tires on my Boone: The 40c WTB Nano, the 35c Clement X’Plor USH, and the just purchased 40c Clement X’Plor MSO. The Nanos probably got the most mileage, but a couple of rides with the X’Plor MSO tires have me pleased. They are a big looking 40c tire, that rolls fast and still handles the dirt and gravel with ease.
I found the 35c X’Plor USH tires fast rolling, but a tad too thin for the sort of sandy dirt and gravel I find myself on. But I find the 40c MSO might be a bit too big. It rolls fast and fits fine, but I’d like to get a look at the 36c version of the X’Plor MSO, that might be the best of both worlds.
Long time readers of the blog will know that I did have some issues with the rear wheel during the first few months. I was breaking spokes about every 200 miles. After a few repairs and a warrantied rear wheel, it was decided that my ass is just too big for the stock spokes and the wheel, and the wheel was relaced with spokes built for body girth and rough roads. That’s been the only issue with the bike over the year.
Some random things you probably don’t want to know…
Is the Boone a great cross bike? In case you didn’t read the above text–I don’t know. I don’t/won’t race cross.
Is the Boone a great gravel road race bike? Again, I don’t know, I’ve never raced it, but given that it’s a race bike that easily gobbles up miles and miles of Michigan dirt and gravel, I don’t see why not.
Is the Boone a great endurance rig for all day, or multiple day, gravel adventures? One more time–I don’t know, my rides are between one and three and a half hours long, if I ever get the time/want/body to go longer again, I’ll let you know.
Does the isospeed decoupler really work, or is it some marketing mumbo-jumbo from Trek? Yes, it works. It’s not a full suspension, it’s not a soft tail, but carbon + isospeed decoupler (fat 40c tires don’t hurt either) = way more comfort for seated pedaling over rough roads. Looking down betweenst my fat thighs when powering through stuff I can see it doing its job like a champ. Powering up climbs out of the saddle there is no flex. I’d say Trek got it right.
How is the cross crank for dirt, gravel, and road riding? 90% of the time I am fine with it. It would be nice to have a couple more teeth on the big ring for paved roads, and maybe I’ll look into that someday, but since I do 99% of my rides by myself, don’t race, and worry more about having enough time to process my photos later that day than how fast I’m going, I’d say it’s just fine. As for the small chain ring, there is only one sandy hill on one of my loops where I’ve ever used it, and that is more out of laziness than need.
Is the Boone a great bike to roll over dirt and gravel roads, pavement, and shit Michigan roads while taking photos that will find their way onto the endless supply a mindless drivel that I call a blog and post on the inter-web-o-sphere? Yep. Works for me just great.
So there you go, a bunch of random blathering about my year with the Trek Boone 5 Disc. The bike is one awesome bike. Well, at least until I find a bike that I ride even more, then that bike will be “awesomer.”