I have been following the discussion above with a lot of interest. I've had a Jumper for about 4 weeks now and have nothing but praise for the build quality and the design. This is a well balanced bike that handles superbly and is a real blast to ride. I have posted up a lot of pics on a google+ page and also have written numerous ride reports. We are in the middle of summer in New Zealand so we have 6 months lead time on the northern hemisphere to try these out in ideal conditions....
Here's a report of last weekend.....
NEO JUMPER AT KARAPOTI
Down here in the Anitipodes we are at a distinct seasonal advantage given the launch of the Neo Jumper on the approach to a northern hemisphere winter. As far as I know, no one in the north is having the opportunity to give the Jumper a thorough workout in it's designated playground, true off road. So here we go again.........
About half an hour north of where I live is 16,000 hectares of wilderness, a recreational playground that is a blend of native and exotic forest criss-crossed by a total of 178Km of tracks and forestry access roads. It is also the home for New Zealand’s most celebrated mountain bike race, a sort of F1 GP for mountain bikes. You can read about it here:
Anyhow as this summer of ours seems to linger on seemingly endlessly I decided to visit the forest park for a debut and see what the fuss was all about. Well, that’s not entirely true. In what seems like a lifetime ago, must be going forty odd years ,I entered a sort of enduro race for off road motorcycles. It was held in the same forest park and it was winter time. There was more mud than the battlefields of Passchendaele. I had this indelibly etched memory of sitting at the bottom of one particular incline and becoming very religious all of a sudden. The race was a killer and that was on a motorcycle.
But today was a sparkling late summer Saturday that was about the eight one in a row without rain. The conditions should be dry and probably dusty, and I was only going in for 10Km. The easy bit. Relatively. The majority of the roads and tracks in this natural adventure park are wide enough for a four wheel drive. You can see the pics here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/1107 ... 4607934353
(NB: photos are Google Earth enabled. Click on the photo, then click on photo details, then click on the map)
I had built up a reasonably good picture of the Jumper’s capability over the past couple of weeks with the off road experiences of this new mountain eBike. So I wasn’t sure what else to expect besides endorsing my favourable opinions and perhaps discovering some previously unearthed flaw or limitation. With the track being dry and wide the speeds were much faster than I had previously been off road. I found myself glancing at the speedo fleetingly on a few occasions and noted the speed at 18- 24 kph. It seemed effortless to maintain this even amongst the loose surface of randomly sized rocks and gravel. I was also climbing. I had not expected to find the amount of residual surface water that was present after such a prolonged dry spell. There were full track width ponds and puddles scattered about every 50 metres or so on the average uphill entrance track. Most likely due to the permanent shade from the rain forest cover and the constant runoff from the surrounding steep countryside. This went on for about 4 kms and seemed like forever. Not having mudguards and being mentally unprepared to jump into mudbaths for the heck of it, most of the water hazards, if you can call them that, were ridden around the edges at speed. This is what impressed me immensely with the Jumper’s handling. The front frame geometry, head angle and trail, is ideally suited to this type of riding. Additionally I think that maintaining the speed on the incline enhances the stability, something you can never do on a conventional bike. The front wheel stays more on track and provided you can keep up momentum then transferring weight forward is a certain asset to the steering and stability without loosing traction. It is the torque that brings this bike into a league of it’s own. After a few wobbly slow attempts at negotiating the ponds around the edges I tackled the next lot of them at speed, in the range of 18-22kph, backing off slightly on the approach then punching the pedals for a torque surge that carried you around a very narrow edge of dry gravel and down onto the track lining up for the next puddle.
The remainder of the ride was unremarkable except for the grandeur of the forest. It wasn’t until the return ride that I then realized how steep the incline was. I would guess 10%. It probably doesn’t sound much within the context of hills that can be encountered, but it didn’t have clear unobstructed path up the middle which adds to the burden of ascending any incline in the dirt.
I am more than convinced now that the Continental 2.4 tyres are making a considerable contribution to the stability and handling off road. I run these at about 30psi.
There was one hiccup before I got back to the car park. Towards the end of the ride, about 500metres before the car park there is sudden drop of about 4 metres down into a stream and the same sudden steep bank up the opposite side. Smack bang in the middle of the straightest path is a large rock so you have to go either side. It caught me unawares going in and I automatically steered the Jumper to the right which was where the fresh tyre tracks were. I had the wrong gear selected so ended up pushing out and up the other side. On the return, being prepared, I took the straighter path which was the opposite side of the rock. Being pumped up with confidence from the downhill dash zigzagging around puddles I backed off only slightly. This meant I hit the stream at a fair whack and probably faster than I should have. I am sure the suspension bottomed out on the rear. My momentum carried me up the other side but the torque was missing. Two more pedal pumps was enough to tell me the Jumper had switched off. The LCD was still on display, no faults showing, so I turned it on and off a couple of times, but still there was no life. I pedaled back to the car with no assist, which also made me realize that unassisted mountain bikes are really no fun at all. At least not for me.
The bike would still roll in walking mode but was definitely not working under pedal load. A couple of hours later after a wash and rinse and wipe down I tried it again in my driveway. No problem, all working. So to now, I still am unsure what happened. Perhaps there is a safety cutout with sharp jolts to the rear, but you would expect it to show a fault. I don’t know.
Needless to say this is yet another great experience on a remarkable bike.