Before leaving on vacation to Maine I should out a question about LBS that rented bikes in the area. This lead me to the wonder people at Bath Cycle and Ski. Little did I know that Carver Bikes and Bikeman.com are also based out of the shop. After firing a few emails back and forth they said they would get me hooked up with a loaner for the few days I was in town.
Once we arrived at the shop we were quickly greeted and I met up with Davis Carver part owner of Carver. He showed me what was currently available and in my size. I quickly settled on the Carver Aluminum Gnarvester. A light weigh 29+ Trail shredder. The bike they hooked me up with was built with Sram X1 and Raceface components. The wheels were Velocity Duallys wrapped in Surly Knard tires. These components were paired with a Carver carbon fiber fork, all adding up to a pretty damn light and budget friendly 29 plus bike (talking to Davis this complete would come in at around $2500.00). Having hiked/walked all of the trails near our rental house last year, I knew this would be the best option for where we were staying. The trailers range from super soft moss covered single track, to rocky hard pack ATV roads.
From the get go I was impressed with the responsiveness of this bike. The front end was super light and a breeze to pop over anything that got in my way. I was a bit concerned that the ride would be harsh but the 29+ tires really minimized all of those concerns. I really tried to put this thing through everything I could find just to see how it would preform. Anything from beach riding to a 30 mile mixed surface road/gravel/single track ride. I think its pretty obvious its best for single track and getting rad, but I was impressed on the road as well. Having owned and ECR this bike is a completely different 29+ beast. It doesn't feel like a dump truck on the road. One of the other things I found interesting was by dropping the tire pressure way down (didn't have a pump with a gauge so I'm not sure how low I was) it did very well on the beaches. This was a fun new riding experience for someone who has spent the vast majority of their bike riding life in Kansas.