Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Wasting Light
December 18th, 2011

Catching up with a friend in Llandudno left me rather late arriving at Betws-y-Coed for a ride today, so I knew it was going to be tight fitting in a full ride this close to the shortest day. What I hadn’t factored in were the trail conditions. After parking up in town and riding up past the Bryn Afon guest house and up the ‘I swear this road has become steeper’ climb to the Marin Trail, it must have been past 2pm.


Despite the ticking clock I pressed on. The first section of Singletrack that you reach when joining the trail this was is through a thick conifer plantation and was almost pitch black to ride through. After that most of the trails weren’t too bad at all for light. The section through to the carpark at the official start to the trail above Llanrwst was awesome in a brakes off, letting it flow, kind of way.

Marin Trail

After that of course is that climb, the long drag that goes on and on and then again once you’re across the road. The trail conditions steadily worsened and there was more and more snow further around the trail. Conditions were pretty severe and without any lighting or proper winter spec clothing, I bailed after Pixies Paradise and took the A5 back to town. It was properly dark by the time I made it back to the van and I had feet and hands like blocks of ice.

It would have been very foolhardy to have pressed on with the trail even if I had just taken the fire road a bit further to the road descent down from Pont Banog, let alone trying to take in the final section of Singletrack. The conditions were getting icy and I would have potentially have just been another statistic. These mountains can’t be underestimated, especially in conditions which have already claimed the life of others.

New Not Light
December 12th, 2011

So ordered a few upgrades for the Remedy as part of keeping the bike going. Shimano XT trail pedals to replace a very worn out pair of Candy SLs. Hope floating rotors and new tubeless ready wheels built around Hope Evo hubs and Mavic XM819 rims. They replace a pair of rather trail aged Bontrager wheels. I also replaced the rather bent seatpost quick release with a a CNC’d hope lever which hopefully won’t be as soft under my grip. Thing is despite chucking a fair bit of cash at it, the bike doesn’t seem much lighter on paper:

Old New
Seatpost Quick Release 46 52
Pedals 336 410
203mm Front Rotor 183 177
183mm Rear Rotor 164 160
Front Wheel 872 906
Rear Wheel 1079 1042
Totals 2680 2747

The advantage of course is being avke to drop two tubes out of the equation, so that saves about 500g across a pair of wheels. The thing I am interested to see is whether I notice the reduction in rim width. The XM819s (23.5mm) are a bit narrower than the Bontrager Rhythm Elites (27.5mm), but I’m hoping that the ability to run lower pressures will allow things to even out in my favour. All in should save about three quarters of a pound on the bike…

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