Vail Today: Eagle Outside Festival allows riders to try before they buy (video)
By Tricia Swenson | Vail Today
Mountain bikes have advanced quite a bit in the past few years and much like the shaped skis in the late 90s, the changes are building confidence and making the sport more fun. The Eagle Outside Festival allowed you to try before you buy during their event on June 3rd and 4th. Wheel size has increased not only in diameter, but also in width. The 27.5 Plus wheel is becoming popular because of the increased contact patch it creates. “When you increase how much of your tire is touching the ground, you have greater traction, which gives riders more confidence,” said Chris Anderson, owner of The Kind Bikes and Skis in Edwards. “For newer riders this makes them feel more planted to the trail and for more advanced riders it allows them to push the bike harder through the turns and it’s great for climbing too, especially on steep terrain,” said Anderson. Paul Previtali of High Gear Cyclery has been participating in this event since it began 10 years ago and brought out nearly 30 demo bikes from Rocky Mountain and Intense. They set up a hydration station for riders trying out new bikes, but he also could point them in the right direction. “For the beginner I’d say go ride Haymaker. They’re going to love it, not be overwhelmed. For the more advanced, Abrams Ridge Climb to pretty much any trail off there. Catwalk is probably my favorite, it just rolls through the woods, it’s not super challenging and keeps things interesting,” said Previtali. Eagle resident Steve Simonsen was excited to demo bikes. “I’m interested in riding the bigger wheels, the 29ers and the 27 Plus.” Even though his current model is only 6 years old, the technology has advanced during that time frame. “Lately with bikes, it’s just been a matter of a couple years, two or three years, and the technology just builds a better bike, which as an avid bike rider, it’s very nice to see.” The event draws mountain bike enthusiasts from around the region, especially racers who participated in the Firebird XC race, which was also a state championship cross country race. Dean Hill, who is a guide and coach for Aspen Pro Cycling, traveled to Eagle for the event. “I’ve raced here several times before and I keep on coming back because the course is always incredible, it’s well-attended so the competition is always high.” Beyond the bike demos and races, craft beer, kids events and concerts rounded out the event. “it’s a great way to see Eagle,” said Previtali. “It’s a community event that happens to be bike-focused but it’s really about the community and getting people excited to play outside in the mountains where we live.”
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