Memorial Day Mountain Bike Rides

I’m starting a new tradition, only if the weather holds, and it’s to spend the Memorial Day Weekend riding mountain bikes.

After decades of racing and road riding, I’m just now discovering all the trail riding locals have ridden for the same amount of time, some routes even longer.

And, thanks are due to the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance for connecting old trails with new ones that flow at places like Tiger Mountain and my personal fav, the Grand Ridge.

On Saturday, we day tripped to Leavenworth for the famous Freund Canyon trail. Then back in town on Sunday, we rode Grand Ridge from Exit 18 and back with the water tower loop.

It’s remarkable to note that within 45 minutes of the fastest growing city in America, there are hours of trails to ride and just south of here, bike companies like REI and Diamondback use them as their proving ground.

Their latest models are remarkable too for the value and dialed geometry that’ll descend Detonator or the grunt up to Soaring Eagle. Just like in the road category, I don’t publish shoot outs, because the product is so good now. If you’re shopping, just find a brand that appeals to you, a price point, and then enjoy all the advancements companies have made in the past few seasons.

The weather this weekend is why long-time Seattle residents love living here; especially, after all the record-setting rain. The trail conditions were decent with runoff dried up after a few warm days of temperatures in the 80s.

Diamondback Release

The Release hits a price point for a full suspension and offers a lot of bike for the money, on sale for $3899.00. By using their own suspension design, Diamondback doesn’t pay a licensing fee to another company and can top off a decent spec with a dropper post, Schwalbe tires, 1 x drivetrain, and WTB saddle. There’s nothing on the Release bike, out of the box, I’d replace and it’s not overhyped. I’ve ridden world-cup bikes at media events, and the Release was heavier but comparable in suspension performance.

Just make sure to convert it to tubeless right away. For the purposes of a weekend getaway, it fit the bill, was fun on the trail, and light on the wallet.


  • 11-speed SRAM X1
  • KS LEV Integra dropper post
  • SRAM Guide RS hydraulic brakes with 180mm rotors
  • Blanchard rims.


Earlier this year, I shared Co-op’s all-road offering and finally got to see the new DRT 2.1. For the trails around here, a hardtail 27.5+ is the sweet setup. That’s because of the traction from a huge contact patch. As we’ve blogged about repeatedly, when it comes to tires, wider is better. 

The light, tubeless wheels feel lively on the DRT and it’s nimble. You can flick it around with ease and accelerate with each stomp on the pedals up the steep sections, over the roots and rocks. For max versatility, the DRT ships with 2.8s or you can swap in 29er wheel and tire combos with Boost hub spacing.

Steve Gluckman from REI rests for a moment.
The DRT is also color-coordinated in willow with the Co-op kit, if you’re into being matchy-matchy with the trees. The DRT retails for $1599.00.


  • 1 x 11 Shimano SLX drivetrain
  • 120mm front suspension
  • Tubless-ready wheels with 27.5 plus tires, fits 29″ wheels
  • Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
  • Full-fender and rack compatible
  • Front and rear thru-axles

Ghost with Pinion Drivetrain

Rene Costales, also from REI, told me he’s going bike camping with that Roket.
After the ride and back in the parking lot, I realized; wait, that’s a Ghost with Pinion and a REI exclusive? While a Pacific Northwest success story and a powerhouse retailer, REI is not known for being a market leader in new bike tech. They’re normally conservative when it comes to trends, so I was surprised by the Roket and intrigued.

If you’re considering a Pinion gearbox bike, test ride it. I did and it’s everything you’d want it to be AND with a dyno hub. I’d consider it for a flat-bar commuter and camping. The Roket X AL retails for $4799.00.


  • Pinion C1.12 gearbox-driven drivetrain
  • Dynamo power-generating front hub
  • RockShox Yari RC Solo Air fork with 130mm of travel and Boost 110mm hub spacing
  • SRAM Guide R dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes and 200mm front / 180mm rear rotors
  • LEV Integra dropper seatpost
  • Internal cable routing
  • Race Face ARC 40 rims and Schwalbe 2.8 wide tires
  • 27.5+ x 2.8 wide tires.

In the Pacific Northwest, we’ve got what seems like an endless amount of trails to ride on a new generation of well-performing bikes with posts and photos to follow.

Also, a new tradition.

Also published on Medium.

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