Four Seasons in One Ride on Captain Ahab

It doesn’t matter where you go in the American West, you’ll always hear the sayings “if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes” and “you’ll have four seasons in one ride here!” In Moab that definitely holds true this time of year.

NAHBS is around the corner and a few weeks ago, a text thread circulated from a handful of builders asking if we’d be interested in riding mountain bikes in Moab before the three days of tradeshow engulfed our lives. Of course, I was into that idea, as it never takes too much convincing to ride awesome trails. Rough plans were made and on Sunday morning, we began our journey out to Moab.

After battling 65mph winds on the highway, we were a bit tired from the drive and the following morning, we needed to gather some local reconnaissance on the local trail conditions. I rode Captain Ahab three years ago with SRAM and really wanted to ride it again, but this time on a hardtail. Porcupine was also on our agenda, although a trip to Poison Spider made us change our agenda. The snow and rain had caused a bit of mud to form on that iconic trail, making it off-limits. Coming to Moab and not being able to ride Porcupine is a bummer, but there are plenty of dry trails to ride.

Ahab is named after the rock formation in the background, which looks like a whale.

We grabbed breakfast, kitted up, found a parking spot and took off to ride. Ahab is a blast and the climb up HyMasa is plenty scenic. As per the introduction to this story, we encountered 30mph gusts, snow, hail, sleet and baking hot sunshine, all within the 9-mile loop.

With a good amount of time to kill and our adjacency to some amazing geologic formations, we ended the day soaking in the sunset driving through Arches National Park…

  • Nice landscapes!

  • caliente


  • Trevor H

    I wanna know more about the HDJ80.. is it a 1HD-T truck? RHD or LHD? Side question: Have you started a thread on Expedition Portal for Juniper Dune yet John?

    • 1HD-T RHD. Someone REALLY wanted to buy my HJ61, so I sold it to them. A week or so later, this one popped up on CL in Los Angeles with a California Title.

      • Trevor H

        Nothing wrong with that. Very cool. They are sweet both sweet trucks, though I tend to prefer the 80 series more..

  • Will

    So much sandstone…

  • Ted Barbeau

    A little off topic but do you ever feel limited by your hardtail? I spend most of my time on a rigid SS and generally feel let down each time I hop on a FS rig (too plush, no trail connection, kinda boring, etc.). I’m starting to seriously consider the possibility that a highly capable 29/27.5+ hardtail is the way to go. I’ve read most of your posts that touch on the subject of hardtails (e.g. the review of your Retrotec), but I’m curious how often you wish you had a FS bike. Thanks!

    • I didn’t and haven’t hit anything on the trails in Moab where I wish I had a dually. I enjoy riding FS bikes but have more fun jibbing on a hardtail. Especially with a 3″ tire and a dropper.

    • AaronBenjamin

      Depends on your terrain and how you approach riding. I ride a hardtail almost exclusively, but I would not want my hardtail when riding in Sedona for example. Not to say it’s impossible but it would indeed be a challenge to ride many of those trails on one. In super rocky trails it just makes it more fun to be on a FS and be able to choose more lines than just the smoothest one. I don’t need a FS for 99% of the riding that I do, but just because a tool can be used for a task does not mean it will be the optimal one.

      • I rode a hardtail in Sedona and had a lot of fun!

    • breed007

      If you’re riding a rigid SS now and aren’t digging the feel of FS bikes, then you’ll probably love a slack, modern hardtail. The improved ride of modern bikes has a lot more to do with geometry and components than rear suspension. I sold my only FS bike last year and don’t miss it.

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    • breed007

      Poppi’s really changed his look.

  • Steve Graepel

    As always, fantastic photos. You guys able to compare thoughts on the Sklar vs. Retrotec/Inglis frames?