I've always been a big fan of that book "You Can't Go Home Again" by Thomas Wolfe. The book itself is pretty goddamn long and filled with all manner of subtext and I am about as far away from being a literary scholar as one could get, but it's about this guy that writes a novel about his home town that pisses everyone off such that he must bail and go on a journey of self-discovery only to return and find that "Meh, things aren't so bad afterall." I myself am currently on a tour of my home state of Michigan, riding mountain bikes on trails both old and new. I figured since I'd be riding a lot of different trails throughout the state, in both the UPper and Lower Peninsula, it'd be smart of me to bring my Instigator and two sets of wheels; one 26+, one 27.5. The Instigator (2.0 that is) can handle both.
I grew up in a pretty small town that wasn't wildly conscious of the sport of cycling, but had a 9ish mile trail originally built for hiking and XC skiing that was perfect for mountain biking. I spent what most would consider an inordinate amount of time on those trails when I was young and always felt pretty lucky to have them. After 25 years, the inexorable march of time and weather has changed the face of the trail quite a bit but it's always been pretty standard fair for this part of Michigan, sandy soil with rooted and erroded decents. Being that this trail is older than mountain biking, it wasn't given the consideration of modern trail building knowledge. The descents go straight down the faces of the hills and 25 years later, are pretty rough, with a beach's worth of sand waiting at the bottom to wash out your front wheel at speed. The sort of thing that is perfect for 26+.
I met up with an old friend yesterday to ride a trail that I've been riding for 25 years and the Instigator completely changed my perception of the trail. Part way through the ride, I swapped pedals with my friend so he could give it a go and that was the last time I touched my bike for the duration of our ride. It was a lot of fun to see how that bike made a difference for my friend John. He was hitting things at speeds he didn't think he could, obstacles turned from things you had to carefully hump your bike over into launch pads for glory. He was pretty enthused to say the least. It brings up a good point though, take a pedal wrench with you when you ride with your pals. Swap pedals, ride different bikes, it'll give you a chance to get a new perspective on the same old shit.
26+, it'll go through everything.
Shod in 27.5
"The voice of forest water in the night, a woman's laughter in the dark, the clean, hard rattle of raked gravel, the cricketing stitch of midday in hot meadows, the delicate web of children's voices in bright air--these things will never change." -Thomas Wolfe