Nitty Gritty

I’ve had about a hundred miles of acquainting myself with the Woodstock 505 now, and I can say we’re on pretty friendly terms. I’ve taken it mostly on local trails so far, with some road miles in traveling to the trails. I live only a few miles from a great 10 mile loop. I’ve had a chance now to push the Woodstock somewhat, as well as to “settle in” on it for a longer ride or two. This is an update as  I’m  preparing to test the “commutability” of the bike for the next few hundred miles.
As a product reviewer for Commute By Bike, I am providing my unbiased opinion of any products provided to us by any company. I do not posses any type of relationship with the products company or parent companies. I am not paid to provide my opinion by the companies that send in their goods to be reviewed.
Testing Grounds:
Columbus, GA.
Surfaces: Gravel, mud, sand, dirt, flat rock, road, clay, hills, whoop-dee-doos, hard pack, single track, fire road, open fields,  deep woods, creek bed, water (6″-8″ deep)
About Me:
I’m on  a quest to lose weight, save money, and have fun doing it. Isn’t everyone?
The Nitty Gritty:
The Woodstock is easily as equipped as most $1000.00  bikes at your local bike shop (LBS), yet it sells online for $599.99. That’s very appealing to most buyers – good quality at a discount price. A lot of people have great relationships with their LBS, and might feel like they’re slighting them. I have a great relationship with my LBS as well, and believe me, they understand value too. They also make money  on tune-ups, maintenance, and accessories I need (want) for the Woodstock, so they still love me.
Nitty Gritty Great things that really stand out so far are:
  • HandlingI like the geometry of the bike, it’s much quicker turning than my hybrid. The stance was a little too racy for me, but with the adjustments I’ve made, and a 90mm Dimension stem, it’s now very comfortable for a non-racer type like me.
  • Saddle – The WTB Lazer V Comp seat is excellent –  in fact, my next replacement on any other bike I have will probably be one of these, I like it so much.
  • Brakes – The Avid mechanical discs and levers work perfectly. What more would anyone want? At 250+ pounds, I don’t go flying down hills, so  I gave these brakes a workout. They haven’t even needed adjusting yet.
  • Tires – Weirwolf 26″ x 2.1″ tires really grab in corners, and it’s a good thing the way this bike can corner, it needs that grip. The rear tire slipped only on the steepest climbs I could negotiate, and only on the really slimy stuff. They are too knobby for regular street use for my taste. I’ll be putting on some alternate wheels for my daily commutes coming up soon.
  • SRAM X-7 rear derailleur is very snappy – it handled mud,  weeds,  twigs and such with no trouble. After about 180 total miles on the bike so far (not all mine) it does need a tune-up. However the bikes been shipped across the USA twice, and transported several times. We don’t exactly baby these machines. A professional tune up is being done this week, we’ll see in my longer term test how long it holds.
  • Climbs – I mentioned the spinning rear wheel on the worst climbs; well on this bike the worst climbs are REALLY steep and rough. It is surprising in it’s ability to climb – I was even able to stay up and keep moving when my rear wheel spun half of every revolution. The balance is natural in the climbing position on the Woodstock, and makes almost anyone a better climber.

Nitty Gritty Nit-Piks  that  stand out so far are:

  • Forks – The Manitou Axel 80 mm Comp forks have a great lockout and adjustment feature, very easy to reach, but it was also easy to get moved by passing brush. The fork was soft and compliant, and it feels strong enough for my heft, but in the softer settings it has a bit of stiction on the return or decompression stroke.
  • Headset – The brick headset might be strong but it’s ugly. Sorry.
  • Dished Wheel – the front wheel is dished a bit – which in fairness, Woodstock has offered to replace, but I think I can get it adjusted  pretty cheap.

So-Far: It looks promising. I’m going to keep pushing and riding the Woodstock for at least a few hundred more miles, and in a few weeks, I’ll give a full write-up with all the nitty picky details.

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