I built up my brand spanking Process 111 DL in the evening, and set off in the morning, on a quick trip, a run to the hills. In a blur of five incredible days, my friends and I rode trails on Vancouver Island, in North Vancouver, above Britannia Beach, in Squamish, Whistler, Pemberton, and finally, Lillooet.
The Process is lauded as a bike for all purposes. A bike that climbs well, and feels like a downhill steed once pointed towards the base of the mountain.
Being a big guy, I chose the 111. The beauty of the Process line is in the diversity. There is a range of travel and wheel size. The Process bikes allow riders to choose the right bike for their own style and terrain type. I personally don’t feel hindered in any way by 29er wheels, perhaps because I am part Sasquatch. I also know that more travel doesn’t really mean more control, or ability to conquer trails. Wheel size, suspension design and setup, tire width and air pressure, and frame geometry play a huge part in your bike’s ability to guide you gingerly over the roughest of terrain. However, I’m not trying to convince anyone that the lower travel, 29er version of the Process is the ‘one.’ I’m actually fairly open to the fact that the 27.5 Process 134 might be the most suited to overall awesomeness, but the beauty of the Process bikes is that you can review the options with the folks at your local bike shop and decide what’s best for you.
Bikes have come a darn long way. ‘True’ mountain biking involves climbing up, down, around and all over your local mountains. Some of the innovations that most help us to do that are dropper posts, excellent drive-trains, hot shit brakes, and overall bike geometry. On the Process 111, all of these assets come together beautifully. I personally love the simplicity of the XX1 drive-train. Not having a shifter on the left side of my bar allows me to run my Dropper post trigger on the left side, which allows the right hand to only worry about shifting through the rear cog-set. The XO Trail Brakes are light, and extremely powerful, with 4 pistons of authority. The geometry of the 111 was immediately noticeable – this bike feels like an absolute shred-sled once gravity begins to pull.
So in 5 days of mountain bike hustle, we rode a huge diversity of terrain. From Maple and Arbutus groves on Maple Mountain, to slimy rocks and glistening roots on Cypress Mountain, and onwards to fast and buffed single-track in Squamish. The climbs in Pemberton were stupid steep, rocky, and punishing. (We participated in an event called ‘Lumpy’s Trifecta’ which forced us to attempt the same loathsome climb 3 times, aarrggghhhhh.) Our final roost was on a 3,000 vertical foot downhill run in Lillooet, a 2 hour drive up and over the Duffy Lake Pass from Pemberton. The terrain there becomes almost desert-like, and the trail surface was akin to marbles tossed over hard-pack. Our 5 days went by in a flash, and the Process 111 guided me over a colossal assortment of trail types.
What is a mountain bike? It is a bicycle designed to carry you away in the woods. It is a tool to experience fear, find flow, and boogie your way through trails that may become your favorite, or may become your nemesis, if only for awhile. The beauty of the Process 111 is that you can tango with trails of every type. You can pedal from your house, you can even shuttle with the downhill boys. You can punish yourself for last night’s ice cream splurge up the nasty climbs. You can dive into corners and be rewarded with the ripping resonance, the tearing of a zipper of dirt opening to your tires. You can ride off drops, over roots and rocks, knowing that your bike is not only capable of anything, but that it has been designed for exactly this, for riding into the land of far-and-away, where the regular world of sirens, traffic, and ringing telephones are a distant call of some other scenario. Ride the Process, ride the mountains, just ride.