Friday, August 27, 2010

Downhill and Freeride Video: The Taka meets dirt at Big Creek!

Taka at Big Creek from Greg Heil on Vimeo.

Click "Read More" for the full write up....

I want to give a huge shout out to Matt S. for hanging out and filming, editing this awesome video together, and for giving me encouragement and input as I was setting up for these runs!

Taka Meets the Dirt
This past Tuesday when this video was filmed was the first time I got the Taka out on true mountain bike trails to test its mettle and see what it was made of.  Let me just say this: I am more likely to break before this bike does!  When shredding Big Creek, I felt more limited by my level of gutsiness and lack of downhill experience than I did by the bike or even my bike handling skills!  Being a good downhiller is much like being a good big mountain-freeride skier: it is a mental game first and foremost.

Expect a blog about the sport of downhill mountain biking sometime in the future, but for now let's focus on the bike.

The Taka performed superbly!  It was so stable, so natural in the air, so smooth in the corners, so responsive through the rocks; riding the Taka makes me feel so confident, even when I'm sending jumps that I wouldn't have dreamed about riding before this big brown bike showed up on my doorstep.  As I wrote yesterday, the Taka makes me so comfortable when:

  • pinning it (that means going completely balls-out high-speed for those not familiar with moto lingo) through the rock gardens containing mini boulders and 3 foot drops after many of the rocks
  • sending a 3 foot high booter to a super long landing (where you could get as much air as you want)
  • airing a 15 ft long table top
  • doing various rock drops ranging from 4ish feet to 7-8 feet
Full disclosure: I still don't feel comfortable completely pinning it through the big rocks, clearing the whole 15 foot table top, or dropping 8 feet even on my Taka yet.  I have sent the booter, ridden the rocks at pretty high speed, cleared the 7-10 foot tables, and dropped a 5 foot high rock, though. But there are still bigger, badder features for me to work up to!

Of all the Airborne bikes that I've ridden, the parts package on the Taka impresses me the most:
  • The Avid Juicy 3s with the massive rotors stop a high speed descent in a heart beat. Matt hopped on to ride, and said that at first he was more scared by the brakes than anything else! 
  • I love the massively wide bars and the general feel of the cockpit.  It's made to get big air and handle nasty landings and rocks.  
  • I have had no issues with the suspension so far: the fork has been phenomenal, and has sucked up even some totally off-balance drops and landings. 
  • The drive train has been rock-solid, and the chainring guard and chain guide have just done their job.  I can almost see running a 1x9 on an All Mountain bike just to be able to run these more downhill specific components.
  • I love having big, massive DH tires! As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I am a sucker for big knobbies that just hook up, and now I have an excuse to ride full on 2.5" wide pieces of rubber perfection!  (That go on a bicycle.)  Maybe I need to try some 3.0s out soon...

I look forward to getting even more time in the saddle (or above the saddle) of the Taka, and hope to write a complete review sometime in the future.  For now, I can easily say that the Taka is an absolutely killer bike, and if you want to get into downhill, you need to buy one!

Your Turn
So how did you like the video?  Does it make you want a Taka now? **winkwink** 


Dan Lucas,  August 27, 2010 at 8:19 AM  

Yes Greg this Video makes me want a TAKA. the good news is I can go ride mine now that you got me all pumped up. I like the editing and "The Scorpions"
My only advice is, go faster over the rocks and keep the rebound off, you will keep it pinned. good video Bro!

Greg Heil August 27, 2010 at 10:14 AM  

Thanks for the advice Dan. That's one area that I definitely thought I needed to improve. I'm not used to picking out such a burly line that fast! It will definitely take some practice. I need to learn to trust my suspension more.

E-Man,  August 27, 2010 at 3:21 PM  

Ahh man, that's so sick!

scott,  August 28, 2010 at 8:44 AM  

Congrats on finding the rig that rides like it is part of you. One of the best feelings one can get from this sport. A feeling that pushes you out the door to ride more.

Greg Heil August 29, 2010 at 8:33 AM  

Scott, I'm definitely feeling that urge to ride more and more because more options are now available to me instead of just straight cross-country/AM type riding. More time on the bike = awesome!

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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Mountain biking, plain and simple. Trail reviews, ride reports, and philosophical musings induced by delirium from grinding up way too many vertical feet.

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