Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Nearly Crimbo
December 22nd, 2003

Given what’s ahead over the next few days, this is likely to be the last post of the year and it’s been one hell of the year. There’s been travelling – two weeks in Switzerland, a week in Andorra and a week both Guernsey and Jersey. I’ve been riding in new parts of the country and have plans for more rides in more new areas next year. There’s been racing, albeit a bit of a disastrous one and riding with friends. All that and I’ve revisited some of my favourite routes.

Anyway here’s to good riding, good weather and good fortunes in the New Year.

There’ve been changes at work too and I think that we’ve been lucky enough to secure the services of a certain person known as sexmidget. Do the droid and the sexmidget have anything in common other than a penchant for singlespeeds and a shared surname?

The mountain bike website bandwagon is continuing to attract newbies. It’s a lot of work, a big time commitment and requires a certain element of dedication. Good luck to anyone giving it a shot. Anyway here’s a couple of the latest: Bikesandpies and the infamous Moonshine Bikes.

The second of the Revolution series isn’t too far off now and this is the latest on what to expect:

From: British Cycling
Subject: Revolution 2

The second event in the new Revolution Track Racing Series, brought to you by Face Partnership, British Cycling and the Manchester Velodrome, will take place on the 24th January at the Manchester Velodrome. Following the enormous success of Revolution 1, which attracted over 3000 spectators, the second Revolution will offer another great night of track racing.

Revolution 2 will focus on endurance races in the absence of the World Class Performance Sprinters (currently in Australia) who will be racing at Revolution 3 on 28th February. There will, however, be some sprint action with a Keirin competition squeezed in alongside Points, Scratch and Devil Endurance races. New for Revolution 2 will be a 1500m Time Trial, 1km Madison Time Trial and a 3km Derny Paced Pursuit.

A team sprint competition will also boost the action in the Future Stars racing, which proved just as popular as the elite races at Revolution 1. With several top British track riders now confirmed including Chris Newton, Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, Bryan Steel, Malcolm Elliott and Tony Gibb who is currently winning in South Africa, top quality racing will be guaranteed.

Final negotiations are underway to bring some international names to challenge our British boys so keep posted on www.cyclingrevolution.com. for more news. For full event information or to purchase advance tickets please visit the website. Alternatively call the information line on 0700 594 2579 (lines open between 9am and 6pm Monday to Saturday).

Finally there’s a refined version of the site in the bag that’ll be appearing in the New Year after I take the deco’s down. After a long wait, there are some new pictures of the FSR up in the bikeshed section.

Team Bon Jovi
December 19th, 2003

Sending Christmas cards is a good way to keep in touch with people, but it always reminds you how long it’s been since you heard from them last. More often than not it’s been too long.

This is a link to the Park Tools website. Park make some of the best tools on the market. It’s just a shame their blue plastic tyre levers are crap. They bend, they snap and are generally far from the optimum tyre removing tool. They are however better than forks. So as everything else from Park passes testing, it gets the workshop seal of approval and is awarded a permanent link under the kit section.

Prompting alsorts of possibilities in terms of crap jokes based upon song titles, rockstar, Jon Bon Jovi, is to raise the profile of his sponsorship of a US-based Pro mtb team. Team West Virginia/Bon Jovi, will compete in state, regional and NCS races in 2004. There’s more over at MBAction.

“Silver cars are much less likely to be involved in a serious crash than cars of other colours, suggests a new study of over 1000 cars.

People driving in silver cars were 50 per cent less likely to suffer serious injury in a crash compared with drivers of white cars, the research in New Zealand found.

White, yellow, grey, red and blue cars carried about the same risk of injury. But those taking to the roads in black, brown or green cars were twice as likely to suffer a crash with serious injury”. More over at New Scientist.

Armstrong is now talking about riding the next two tours.

Campagnolo’s winter clothing line gets a quick preview over at Cyclingnews and Chris Currie talks about standardisation within the bike indutry over at Dirt Rag.

Room for Growth
December 16th, 2003

The Mountain bike market it seems is far from saturated and far from stagnant. There are still plenty of new bikes and brands developing within the market, most targeting niche markets where the bigger companies are less prepared to take potentially big risks.

Here’s a few of them, two British and one Canadian. First up On-One who have been around for some time and have a bit of an elite following in the Singlespeed sector of the market are planning a new range of bikes including this aluminium hardtail frame, a cyclo-cross bike for next season and possibly a long-travel inbred.

Then there’s Sheffield based Edge Bikes who have been making a name for themselves in the UK downhill scene producing bikes that have carried champions to the podium in this years racing. They do a range of bikes from full on downhill bikes through to lightweight full bounce cross country bikes designed to cope with the British winter.

Finally, there’s the Canadian based Knolly Bikes, the brain-child of Noel Buckley, who spent two years out of action with a broken arm designing a no-compromise, six inch plus travel freeride bike. Interesting use of a double linkage, which seems (in someways) similar to Specialized’s Demo 9, but in other ways completely different. Pinkbike have more news.

For those with a passion for fixed gear Singlespeeds, Hub Jub is there to meet your one speed gear requirements, offering a fine range of hubs and freewheels.

And if that’s not enough have a look at Dave’s Beer/Bike Ratio Training Plan.

Test Ride
December 14th, 2003

I’m out of practice. I’ve forgotten some of the elements that make-up the ritual that is winter riding. When I first arrived in the Northwest, I was out riding pretty much every weekend and it was a steep learning curve as the weather worsened, as to exactly what kit you need to take with you.

You need more food than normal because you’re burning calories to keep you warm and to keep you moving, that and you need clothing to keep the elements out. Those are the easy things to get right apparently, the hard things it turned out today are remembering to take a spare set of warm gloves, dry woolly socks and a beanie to keep you toasty while you’re waiting to get the train home.

I borrowed the Epic Comp Disc demo bike for the day from Harry Halls and rode the Macclesfield Forest route suggested by NBT from IMBA UK. The weather was supposed to be good, but wasn’t. After the summer we’ve had I have absolutely no grounds to make complaints and had already decided I was going riding whatever the elements had to offer.

Specialized's Epic Comp Disc
Intelligent suspension bike:
Forunately the none-demo models come in a more subtle shade of gray

Before the launch Specialized were very secretive about this bike. Afetre the launch there was a lot of press coverage and interest. During the test the Epic lived up to the hype. It’s a capable and a very suitable bike for racing and most UK off-road routes. It’s intelligent lockout turns the bike into a hardtail as soon as the terrain smooths out, but when you get to the off road stuff it seems like there is a lot more than the three inches of rear wheel travel.

With lockout on the forks too, it was easy to get the power down and motor the road sections, without feeling like you were carrying extra weight or that you were loosing power through the suspension. For the majority of UK rides it’s necessary to link in road routes to get to the next offroad section, so the ability to make this bike rigid is a great advantage.

I was a bit sceptical about exactly how well the ‘brain’ would work, but like many people who have ridden these revolutionary nikes, I am now convinced by the design. It works brilliantly. The rest of the finishing kit reflects good value for money. I still dislike the current wave of Specialized grips, they’re too small and not at all comfortable for my big hands, but this years new Telluride saddle is a big improvement over last years body geometry razor bladesque offering.

The rest of the gear is good stuff with a mix of Shimano XTR and LX for gearing duties, sure stopping hydralic shimano discs and a great set of light weight and strong wheels shod with Roll X rubber. In all this is a very capable and dynamic bike, possibly the ideal bike for a person wanting one do it all offroader.

Anyway I took a few pictures, but given the weather they were never going to be much to write home about. There are a couple more up in the wallpaper section now.

I’ve been meaning to link the following website for some time but never seem to get around to it. This is the old skool track website about people riding fixed gear track bikes in cities. If that’s you they want to hear from you.

Fire 1 Bike 0
December 13th, 2003

Twelve days to go to Christmas. Better get the decos up then. I’ve posted this before, but as it’s the right time of year, it’s worth revisiting a winter epic.

Apparently there are still people out there riding this years Specialized Enduro Expert, which came fitted with 8″ Shimano disc rotors. Fox Forx aren’t warranted against use with such big rotors, so if you know some one who’s got one and hasn’t had it changed yet, they need to take it back to their Specialized Dealer who should have the replacement 6″ discs in stock.

From Cyclingnews:

Fire 1 Bike 0

Southern California’s recent fires also claimed one or two bikes, including this titanium machine built by San Diego-based custom frame builder Bill Holland. Speedplay’s Richard Bryne took these pictures after the owner’s 3-storey house was consumed by fire. Imagine coming home to find that?

custom build ti - roasted
Toasted titanium?

The recently-molten blob underneath the bike is all that remains of the Campagnolo groupset. It’s not surprising that the frame remains more-or-less recognizable and the components are toast, though. Titanium melts at 1660ºC, aluminium at a mere 660ºC. There’s a reason supersonic spyplanes have titanium skins.

Lance Armstrong says his sole objective next year is to win the Tour de France for a record sixth time. “I’m more motivated to win a sixth Tour de France than I think I was to win five,” the American U.S. Postal rider told a news conference in Brussels on Friday. There’s more in this article over at Velonews.

I spoke to a good friend today who tells me that these are selling like hot cakes in some parts. Strange that.

We’ve had t’internet radio in’t shop for a while now. Beatblender from the listener-supported, commercial-free, underground/alternative San Francisco station Soma FM, is keeping us chilled, even when things have been getting frantic. It’s worth a listen.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides