- For an aluminum frame, I was immediately struck by how smooth the bike feels. Now, I know a part of this is those big ol’ 40mm Clement tires, but the frame itself deserves praise in this regard.
- The bike feels a bit long in the back end, and I mean this to be a positive. High speed stability and climbing traction are great.
- The TRP mechanical disk brakes are awesome. No fade or squeal on long downhill runs and they are very adjustable and easy to tweak. I swore after my time on Avid BB7’s (yes, many years ago) that I wouldn’t be on mechanical brakes again, but am I ever glad to be wrong.
- The Prologo Kappa Evo saddle is a keeper
My first time out on the Willard was an aberration. I’ve ridden the bike plenty now, and it has quickly become my “go to” bike whenever I want to get in the dirt. I wouldn’t say the bike floats up climbs (it doesn’t, probably due to the somewhat portly wheel set), but I’m continually amazed at the terrain I’m able to ride it on. Sigh…my descending skills on the bike have and continue to improve, but I’ve never been a great descender. I feel I’m not helped by knowing, by virtue of the mountain bike, how fast I could be going down these roads and trails. However, slowing down and even stopping (hands cramping from rough descents) ain’t so bad from time to time. I’m also happy to say that the bike is regularly seen cruising the local bike paths on the way to the market, the post office, etc.