Mountain bike buyers see plenty to test-ride

Vendors galore graced downtown Fruita during the Fat Tire Festival.

Shopping for new mountain bikes is a little like shopping for shoes, said Grand Junction’s Brandi Morales. Sometimes, you have to try a bunch on to see what fits — and looks best — for you.

That’s what the trio of Brandi and Mike Morales and Jason Bogart-Palmisano did Saturday. They walked around the dozens of tents set up in downtown Fruita as part of the multiday Fruita Fat Tire Festival, picking bicycles to ride on the street for test rides.

“It’s nice to get out and ride different geometry and see how it works with your style,” Bogart-Palmisano said.

The annual Fruita Fat Tire Festival consistently draws some of the biggest names in the mountain bicycle industry to Fruita for several days of show-and-tell, giving mountain bikers a unique chance to take a new bike out to the trails for test rides.

And this year was no different.

A former Junior World Champion and National Champion downhill racer Kathy Pruitt was in town this weekend to demonstrate and discuss Juliana Bicycles, the relatively new women’s-only line launched by manufacturer Santa Cruz, her original sponsor.

Pruitt said the response this weekend was great. She sent 41 bikes out for demonstration Friday and Saturday, including nearly a dozen first thing Saturday morning so riders could beat the forecasted rain.

Women came back telling Pruitt they were trying things they’d never done on a mountain bike and, consequently, were having more fun.

“The boyfriends are saying, ‘I’ve never seen her ride like that,” Pruitt added.

The unique look of the Juliana Bicycles caught Brandi Morales’ eye.

“The most important thing is getting women on bikes,” Pruitt told the trio at the tent.

Although the Moraleses and Bogart-Palmisano rode bikes around Fruita, they didn’t hit area trails Friday or Saturday to try the bikes because of weather and the influx of people.

They did, however, like what they saw in the tents.

“I’m ready to buy something,” Mike Morales said.


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